GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
State airport officials have served seven businesses near Kahului Airport with eviction notices. Bruce Olsten of the T-Shirt Factory said he is having a hard time finding a new location for his office and warehouse.
State evicting airport-area firms
A group of seven Maui businesses are asked to vacate land for aviation facilities
KAHULUI » Ted Sniffen said he does not know where he will find another location for his trucking business, after receiving an eviction notice from the state to vacate the property by Dec. 31.
"Everything is a hardship right now," he said. "I thought the state was supposed to help us."
Seven Maui businesses have been asked to vacate about 4.2 acres on the road to Kahului Airport to make way for expanded airport ground transportation facilities, including car rental and airport shuttle bus concessions.
Airport spokesman Dean Inoshita said the transportation facilities have been in the state's master plan since 1992 and that officials have received requests for space from rental companies.
Inoshita said the seven businesses are not related to the airport. He said an official notice to bidders was issued in newspapers on Aug. 26.
The businesses said that although they have been on a monthly lease, the eviction notice was given only a couple of months ago and comes at a time when they are facing a poor economy.
Sniffen, whose family has been in the transportation business since 1919, said he has already had to reduce his work force to 11 people from 20.
Sniffen said he has made inquiries with several businesses but has been unable to find suitable space in such a short time.
Bruce Olsten, whose family's T-Shirt Factory employs 41 people, said he has been spending down reserves during the slow economy and that the eviction comes at a bad time for him.
Olsten said he hopes the state allows businesses to stay as long as possible and does not move them out prematurely.
Olsten said the state moved him out of a location down the street about 20 years ago with plans for commercial construction and still has not built on the property.
"I don't have anything against the state. ... My concern is, I need more time to relocate. It takes a minimum of six months to get a building permit and another three months to build."
Rodney Texeira, part owner of the Coral Factory, said he has been in business for 41 years but that the recent downturn in the economy and the eviction notice have made him nervous.
Texeira, who built his own building and parking lot, said finding a new space has been difficult because he needs enough space for manufacturing, retail and bus tours.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet," he said. "It's scary."