Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, May 14, 2004



Parker Ranch CEO to step down in June

Parker Ranch Inc. President and Chief Executive David Houle will step down from his post effective June 30.

Houle cited health reasons for his decision to leave the ranch, which he joined in March 2002.

"I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve in a leadership position at Parker Ranch," said Houle in a statement.

Houle cited "the progress we have been able to make during the past two years in the areas of improved financial performance, business diversification, corporate governance and enhanced business methods."

Parker Ranch Chairman Tom Whittemore praised Houle's leadership.

"Much has been accomplished during his tenure here," Whittemore said. "Dave has led the efforts to implement financial discipline and made progress toward financial stability."

Ranch trustees will begin a search process for a new president and CEO. "If there is any gap, we have a management team in place to handle the day-to-day business," a spokeswoman said.

Saturn dealership on Oahu sold

Saturn Corp. sold Saturn of Honolulu to Inder Dosanjh and Mike Johnson at the end of April.

All 66 employees will remain employed by Saturn for 60 days after the closing date, then will become employees of the new owners.

The dealership, originally a franchise owned by longtime auto dealer Don Lucas, was sold back to Saturn upon Lucas' retirement.

Johnson, now managing partner, had been general manager of the dealership since 1997 and had also worked for Lucas. Dosanjh is the principal partner and a Bay Area auto dealer with Saturn locations in Concord and Pleasanton, where he also owns a Hummer dealership.

Spokane-Honolulu flights return

Hawaiian Airlines and tour operator Hawaiian Vacations have partnered to offer a second season of non-stop flights from Spokane to Honolulu this winter.

Through a contract with Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaiian Vacations will offer the weekly flights from mid-December to April.

Hawaiian Airlines will operate the charter flight using a new generation Boeing 767 aircraft carrying 252 passengers. Flying time is just over six hours.

Booking for flights starts today. For more information, visit

Down To Earth quits Lahaina

The Down To Earth Natural Foods store in Lahaina Maui will close on or after July 6, due to financial losses, according to a notice filed with the state Labor and Industrial Relations Department.

"The market just wasn't big enough" to support the Lahaina store, said Mark Fergusson, chief executive and chief financial officer of parent company, Healthy's Inc.

The 22 employees will be terminated, but negotiations are under way that may result in the purchase of the store by a former member of the management team, Fergusson said. The store's lease expires at the end of October.

There are five other Down to Earth locations, two on Maui in Kahului and Makawao; and three on Oahu in Kailua, at Pearlridge Center and in Moiliili.

Healthy's meanwhile, is planning the expansion of its Kahului store, Fergusson said.

Organic co-op wins business prize

The Waianae Organic Farmers Cooperative took first prize in a nonprofit business plan competition at Chaminade University.

Two other nonprofits, Hawaiian Homestead Technology Inc. and Ka Hale Pomaikai, "The Blessed House," also were recognized out of a pool of 78 entries.

The Hogan/Bank of Hawaii Nonprofit Business Plan Competition was launched this year as part of the Hogan Entrepreneurs Program, which Chaminade University started in 2002. Winners of the competition were awarded more than $50,000 in cash and consulting services.


New Jobs

>> CB Richard Ellis Hawaii Inc. has hired John R. Bilgrave as vice president of office properties. He previously owned and operated his own general commercial brokerage services company, Bilgrave Commercial.

>>The Cancer Institute of Maui has hired Dr. E. Balakrishnan as an hemotologist/oncologist. He previously worked for the Pacific Cancer Center Institute of Guam. He replaces Dr. Anthony DeSalvo.


>> Macy's West promoted Annette Boynton to Hawaii region vice president of merchandising. she oversees buying and planning operations for islandspecific merchandise. She began her retail career at Macy's West as an assistant buyer.

>> Rob Gunthner has returned to Radisson Kauai Beach Resort as general manager. He is a 12-year Hyatt Hotels Corp. veteran and previously served as Hilton Waikoloa Village resident hotel manager.

>> Cadinha & Co. has promoted Neil T. Rose to vice president. He will continue as portfolio manager and research analyst. He joined the Honolulu investment management firm 2003 as a research analyst.

>> State Farm Insurance promotes the following new agents: Laura Kunewa, Kahala Mall; Toni Lathrop-Lee, Mililani Town Center; Rosten Tsuha, South King Street; and Sue Ann Yonemura, Ward Plaza. Kunewa and Lathrop-Lee were field consultants; Tsuha was a products advisor; Yonemura was a field specialist .


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