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Shipping Shack expands; NorCal Warrior fans party


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POSTED: Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Shipping Shack Inc. is expanding from residential and industrial neighborhoods to where the visitors are—to Waikiki and to Ko Olina, across from the looming Disney Vacation Club and Resort Hawaii.

President William Donohoe overcame great adversity and reinvented himself to open his first Shipping Shack in Kaimuki in 2005 and, later, a freight shipping operation in Mapunapuna.

He hopes to get his next shack, er, shop, open by Nov. 30, on the ground floor of the Ilikai in the Showcase Business Center space.

Donohoe also was hoping to have the Ko Olina Station store open in time for holiday shipping, but it probably won't open until early in the new year, he said.

It's not that business has been going gangbusters.

Business is down 50 percent this year, comparable to FedEx and UPS losses of 48 percent, according to a story Donohoe read.

“;It's been rough, with the recession,”; he said.

“;Last Christmas was really, really bad. It didn't seem like Christmas at all,”; leading him to wonder about the year into which he was heading. He knew he had to find a new direction in order to survive, and “;the wheels started turning,”; he said.

He sets up shop at the swap meet on weekends and will be at the Honolulu Gift Fair at Blaisdell Dec. 18 to 20, and while those extras help, Donohoe needed something steady and solid—hence the visitor-centric expansion.

“;I know the market's there,”; he said. A FedEx driver for nearly two decades, “;20 to 30 people would stop me”; in Waikiki wanting to ship parcels home.

Back then it would have been a convenience, but now it is likely a matter of visitors not wanting to spend a gajillion dollars flying souvenir- and gift-laden baggage home.

The Shipping Shack already picks up visitors' purchases from Waikiki hotels for packing and shipping, so the Waikiki shop will make the business more nimble. He networks with hotel concierges and bellhops who can refer guests to his business.

Partnerships with Discount Electronics and Showcase Business Centers, which will run the Kaimuki and Waikiki stores, respectively, will allow him to focus on running the freight shipping business in Mapunapuna, where he will “;ship motorcycles, crate stuff for art galleries”; and do other heavy or specialty packing for shipping.

“;The way the economy is, if you're going to do it, this is the time to do it and get yourself in position.”; Innovation and creativity are keys to surviving in business in general and in a down economy, especially.

“;I'd love to sit under a palm tree. ... The breeze is good,”; he laughed, but that doesn't generate revenue. Trying new things is necessary. “;If it doesn't work, it doesn't work—but sitting around doing nothing isn't going to work, either.”;

ON THE NET:
» www.theshipping-shack.com

UH Fever hits NorCal

It has been a busy weekend for Hawaii expats and UH Warrior fans in Northern California, as the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California staged events leading up to its 12th annual Road Warriors tailgate party yesterday afternoon.

Pre-game festivities started Thursday and Friday nights at the Hukilau restaurants in San Francisco and San Jose and culminated with the noon-to-kickoff tailgate at San Jose State University yesterday.