Shop for HawaiiCentral Pacific Bank employees tried to make up for a tourist shortage in Waikiki yesterday when the bank handed out $100 bills to more than 500 workers to help businesses hurt by the visitor downturn since Sept. 11.
Isle businesses pay to get economy rolling
In an effort to boost the local revenues,
some companies fund shopping sprees
By Leila Fujimori
"I think it's a great idea," said Marge Lui, secretary to the bank chairman. "Our state needs it; our economy is suffering."
Lui and her husband dined at Todai Restaurant and planned to see the Siegfried and Roy film at the IMAX theater.
"I think it's good because it's giving back to the employees and the economy," said Wendy Higa of the Kalihi Branch.
Employees were lined up in front of the Waikiki branch which opened at 10 a.m. yesterday to hand out the cash. The bank is giving out a total of more than $50,000.
"Central Pacific Bank wants to make a difference," said Joichi Saito, bank chairman and chief executive officer. "We hope this effort will provide some relief to businesses and encourage others to buy Hawaii."
About 105 local businesses have participated in the "Business Helping Businesses" campaign, said Dick O'Donnell, a member of the Honolulu Executive Association, which came up with the concept originally called the "$100 Plan." Participating businesses range in size from one employee to CPB's 531 employees, he said.
"We can pump in $20 to $40 million into the economy," O'Donnell projected.
Bank employees had to save their receipts and turn them in. They have until Nov. 30 to spend their cash. The idea is to spend the entire amount at local businesses related to or dependent on the visitor industry. Some said they planned to take neighbor island trips, stay at a Waikiki hotel, or dine out.
Gail Chun, 44, a financial service officer at the Pearlridge branch joined four other friends who work at different branches and jumped on a white trolley packed with other employees at 10:30 a.m.
"We just want to enjoy this first," Chun said. "I've never done this before."
The party atmosphere had the group singing, laughing and waving to people sipping cappuccino at Starbucks on Kuhio Avenue, tourists who waved back and a garbage truck that bellowed back.
The foursome started their shopping excursion at The Body Shop then went on to the Esprit store.
Lorrie Valencia, 45, tried on sleeveless tops, one red, one black.
"Oh, that's sexy," said Virgie Callorina, 42. "It matches you."
Valencia bought both for $27.06.
After their purchases, they handed the clerk a "Business Helping Businesses" card, stamped with the bank's name.
"That's so nice. It really helps everyone out," said Esprit sales clerk Suzette Garganta, upon learning of the $100 give-away. She said business yesterday was busier than usual adding that the store has cut hours for workers, but no one has been laid off.Around noon, the foursome decided on the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki for brunch, but made a detour to an ABC Store.
"We got lei'd first," said Chun, who bought red, white and blue plastic leis for the group, adding, "We're tourists for the day."