Retailer of the Year: Martin & MacArthur CEO
Lloyd Jones won the award from the Retail Merchants of Hawaii
A philosophy of slow, steady growth has been a big part of Martin & MacArthur's success producing hand-crafted furniture and gifts since the company's founding 46 years ago.
CEO Lloyd Jones and founder Jon Martin have extended that approach even to their search for a buyer for the business, a process that has been quietly under way for more than two years.
They haven't found the right buyer yet, but that hasn't kept the company from thriving. This week, Jones won the 2007 Retailer of the Year award from the Retail Merchants of Hawaii.
He joins such distinguished entrepreneurial company as Linda Holt of Jeans Warehouse (2006 winner) and Bob Taylor (2005 winner) of Maui Divers Jewelry.
Jones' footsteps would be hard to follow, according to Martin, who said he is looking for a buyer with a creative side as well as an understanding of doing business Hawaii.
"He's such a professional businessperson," said Martin, who accepted the award on his behalf. "He's good not only at running a business, but in his relations with employees and customers."
Jones, 68, and Martin, 70, have no one to pass the business on to, given that their children have their own careers. But they want to keep the business in Honolulu, and retain the staff of 75 employees as well as their philosophy of slow, steady growth.
Jones, who has been at the helm of the hand-crafted koa furniture and gift store business more than 20 years, was out of the country and unavailable for comment this week.
Martin said he and Jones are proud of how the company has grown and established its reputation as a fine-quality furniture manufacturer with four retail stores -- two on Oahu and two on Maui.
The company's 20,000-square-foot-plus factory showroom is in Kalihi Kai.
Demand for custom-made furniture is still strong, coming mostly from high-end homebuyers on the Big Island and Maui, said Martin. Some sales are still being generated by a line of furniture designed by interior designer Mary Philpotts McGrath in partnership with Martin & MacArthur.
Martin, who continues to select woods and craft furniture, personally signing off on every piece, said he would still want to play a role in the operations under a new ownership.
He's not ready to retire any time soon.
"I have a lot of fun," he said. "I do what people who retire want to do."
Furniture manufacturing makes up 25 percent of the business, retail 60 percent and picture-frame supplies 15 percent.
Other Ho'okela winners this year were: Philip Rickard, resort retail business of the year; Koehnen's Interiors, Big Island retail business of the year; the Pet Shop Inc., Maui retail business of the year; Tiffany & Co., Oahu retail business of the year; and Jim Saylor Jewelers, Kauai retail business of the year.
Windward Mall was selected as shopping center of the year, while Nagasako General Store and Okazu-Ya Deli won honors for the neighborhood retail category. Big Island Candies Inc. was e-commerce retail business of the year.