Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, March 6, 2003




HomeStreet hits high in isle lending

HomeStreet Bank, which has five branches in Hawaii, said 2002 was a record year for the company's single-family residential construction lending in the state.

The Seattle-based company made $34.1 million in residential construction loans for 353 units. The value of the loans easily surpassed its previous best of $24.2 million in 2000, which was the first year it started focusing on those types of loans. The company had $23.6 million in residential construction loans in 2001.

HomeStreet Bank, which has been in Hawaii since 1980, started here as a mortgage lender and then expanded into construction lending and business banking. It has two Honolulu branches, one for mortgages and one for banking, as well as a banking/mortgage branch in Hilo and mortgage-only branches in Kona and Maui.

The company, which has $1.67 billion in assets and more than 30 branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Hawaii, made $486.2 million in residential construction loans for 2,904 units last year.

It was HomeStreet's best year for residential construction lending in the company's 82-year history.

New Hawaii magazines in Japan

Sony Magazines Inc., working with Honolulu-based PacRim Marketing Group Inc., has released two Japanese-language magazines aimed at bringing tourists to Hawaii.

"Otona No Hawaii," designed for active travelers older than 50, features lei-making, fine dining, fine wines, hula classes, quilting, high-end resorts and program information. "Aloha Wedding and Honeymoon" is geared specifically to isle nuptials and honeymoons.

The publications were based on readership information from "Aloha Express," a quarterly Hawaii travel guide produced by Sony Magazines, combined with market research and trends analysis done by PacRim.

Maui store, eTurbo News sign pact

Maui General Store Inc., an Internet and mail-order catalog retailer that offers a disposable cellular phone in addition to island- and exotic-themed goods and services, said yesterday it has entered into an agreement with Haleiwa-based eTurboNews, a travel trade news provider.

The contract will enable Maui General Store to enter into a sales alliance with more than 150,000 travel professionals in 229 countries and territories. The travel industry affiliates will be able to offer Maui General Store's entire product line.

Maui General Store, which went public in August on the Pink Sheets, surged 38.5 percent, or 5 cents, yesterday to 18 cents on a volume of 5,000 shares. The stock, which began 2003 at 2 cents, is now up 800 percent for the year.

Outrigger rebrands Islander Waikiki

Outrigger Enterprises Inc. is renaming the 283-room Outrigger Islander Waikiki, which will join the firm's Ohana Hotels & Resorts group of lower-priced properties.

The 15-story Islander will be named the Ohana Islander Waikiki, beginning April 1.

Outrigger began using the Ohana brand in 1999, when it renamed 15 of its budget Waikiki hotels as Ohana properties, separating the hotels from the Outrigger name, which the company uses for its higher-priced beachfront properties.

The Ohana name now covers 17 hotels in Hawaii and Guam, including the Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort on the Big Island, the Ohana Oceanview Guam and the recently opened Ohana Bayview Guam.

The Ohana Islander Waikiki, built in 1964, underwent a four-month $7.5 million renovation in 1997. The property is to serve as a gateway to Outrigger's planned $300 million Waikiki Beach Walk redevelopment project, which is scheduled to start next year.


Staples passes rival to be top office chain

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. >> Staples Inc. reported yesterday sharply higher fourth-quarter earnings and total sales that edged it past Office Depot as the nation's largest office supply chain.

Staples, crediting a focus on profitable small business customers and smaller stores that sell fewer items, reported fourth-quarter net income of $165 million, or 35 cents per share, beating expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call by 2 cents per share.

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