‘Small business keeps community growing’

WAIPOULI — The Small Business Administration Kauai Award recipients were honored during a meet-and-greet session coordinated by the Kauai Chamber of Commerce during last week’s Business After Hours event at the Lava Lava Beach Club, located inside the Kauai Shores hotel in Waipouli.

“Small business is what keeps the community growing,” said Jane Sawyer of the SBA.

Sawyer was joined by other dignitaries, including Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Kauai Chamber president Mark Perriello, Jose Fuentes, manager of Lava Lava Beach Club, and Kauai County Council members, in making the presentation of certificates and awards on Thursday.

“The prestigious SBA Kauai Award winners are being done in conjunction with April 17 through 23 being observed as Kauai Small Business Week, and is part of our local celebration leading to National Small Business Week, which is observed May 1 through 7,” Sawyer said.

Winners include Mabel Hashisaka, found of Kauai Kookie, who was presented an SBA Special Award for Lifetime Achievement in the State of Hawaii. Sawyer said Hashisaka was the recipient of the District Director’s award after being considered from all of the entries submitted from Hawaii.

Small Business Advocate for Media and Journalism went to Barbara Bennett, owner and publisher of For Kauai magazine, who unveiled a preview copy of a glossy periodical which will appear before the year’s end.

Bob Gunter, president and CEO of Koloa Rum, was represented by Valerie Smith in being recognized as the County of Kauai Small Business Person of the Year.

Taryn Todighiero, the owner of KaiKini Bikinis, is preparing to celebrate this year’s Fashion Week as well as KaiKini’s fifth anniversary as the County of Kauai SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Shari Makizuki, president of Up-To-Date Cleaners, is the County of Kauai SBA Family-Owned Small Business of the Year.

The Kamitake family, represented by brothers Guy and Walter who flew in from Honolulu and Maui, respectively, represents what happens when small business grows up, Sawyer said. The Kamitake family owns the Homesmart Ace Hardware and Ben Franklin stores which spans the state with 58 stores on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.

John Latkiewicz, the center director for Hawaii Small Business Development Center-Kauai, is the County of Kauai Small Business Advocate for Financial Services, and Dirk Soma, business program director at Kauai Community College, was named the County of Kauai Small Business Advocate for Minorities.

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