Food and a familiar name

LIHUE — Adam and Kelly Apo of Kelly’s Kitchen, located inside the Lihue Bowling Center, said this event was bigger than last year — and that meant a lot of inventory.

“There is a large selection of items to look at,” Kelly said Wednesday during the food show hosted by Koa Trading Company, a division of Y.Hata and Co., at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

Jim Cremmins, the vice chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Y. Hata, said the food show featured more than 40 vendors displaying their product lines and newest items to more than 200 people registered for the event geared for the food service industry.

The food show was a demonstration of the commitment Y. Hata has for continuing the legacy of Koa Trading Company after acquiring the Kauai wholesale operation in January.

“This food show is the most efficient way we know of to let these 45 vendors meet the more than 200 people who signed up for the event,” Cremmins said. “Can you imagine the effort and time involved if the vendors each had to meet up with the people who are represented?”

Kurt Fey of Y. Hata said one of the first things Russell Hata did after acquiring Koa Trading Co. was to preserve the name.

“Peter Yukimura worked hard to build Koa Trading to where it is,” Fey said. “Russell wanted to keep that heritage of community alive. He said Y. Hata & Co. will keep the Koa Trading Co. name, making it a division of Y. Hata similar to the Chef Zone.”

Under the Y. Hata umbrella, Fey said they are working to bring the company into the 21st century.

“Y. Hata has committed to investing heavily in Koa Trading,” Fey said. “This involves both the people, all 28 associates, and the facility. We have big plans to create a top notch facility on Kauai.”

He said the food show was just one way of re-introducing the Koa Trading and Y. Hata names back into the community.

“We don’t want to bring Oahu to Kauai,” Cremmins said. “We just want our customers to have the benefits of Oahu.”

This includes being part of a bigger company which allows better pricing, Fey said.

“This is just one advantage of being a bigger company,” Fey said. “Bigger companies have buying power resulting in a lower landed cost to the customer. We’re still working on more to help the customer.”

Brandon and Brandye Barkley of Puka Dogs were sampling Boiron natural fruit purees, a possibly easier way to create the sauces for their well-known puka dogs in Poipu.

“I’ve had samples of hot dogs, here, and hot dogs, there,” Brandye said. “I’m pretty full, right now.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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