Tuesday, November 20, 2001

After a decade,
Suzuki bids aloha
to Ala Moana

Dexter Suzuki will leave his position as advertising and marketing director at Ala Moana Center at the end of this year -- he gave notice last week.

He doesn't have a job lined up and his decision to voluntarily separate himself from employment comes at a surprising time, amid the involuntary layoffs of tens of thousands of people in Hawaii.

At age 49 he has a 5-year-old son and "a new son due in mid-December," Suzuki said.

"I'm more of a visionary and strategic planner," he said. "I hate to be in the maintenance mode.

"I like to do Fourth of July -- the fireworks, the 'Ooh Aah Oh Wow,' wild and crazy things that have also positioned the center," he said.

He's been with Ala Moana for a decade, through the so-called "bubble years" of the Japanese economy "when money was plentiful and the merchants were doing really well," he said.

Now that the state is into a recessional period -- facing a challenge he said he's up to -- "we need to be given the blessing to try and incorporate some of these ideas."

Saying that he needs a breath of fresh air, Suzuki said, "There's never a good time (to leave a job), the older you get it's harder to move."

Suzuki has done his fair share of moving, from teaching at Kailua High School to serving as administrative assistant to Gov. George Ariyoshi to the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, Honfed Bank, back to college and then to his first position as public relations director for the center.

"I'm going to miss the center," he said. "I got attached to the merchants, and there's a very loyal staff here."

However, bold moves by Victoria Ward and more aggressive marketing by other shopping centers "requires this center to be much more creative -- and I wasn't making any headway," he said.

Target marketing

If you want the world to beat a path to your door, invite hotel concierges to dinner.

It is they, after all, who refer hotel guests to eateries and attractions.

Some 200 concierges from throughout Waikiki were wined and dined by Restaurant Row restaurateurs last night.

Temporary white picket fencing for the private party was set up within the courtyard to cordon off the area.

Upon entering, the concierges received goodies including "Waterfront Plaza/ Restaurant Row" coffee mugs that were gingerly arranged at the greeting table by publicist and event diva Elissa Josephsohn.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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