The new general manager of the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, Jeffrey Bareng, checked over items for sale at the swap meet on Wednesday. He started with his employer, Centerplate, in 1994 as a banquet porter and worked his way up.

Bareng has aloha
for swap meets

The new GM gets to oversee
Hawaii's "biggest bargain"

Jeffrey Bareng

» Has been promoted to general manager of the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet from operations manager. He is employed by Centerplate Inc., a concessionaire based in South Carolina, and has worked his way up through the company.
» Age: 29.
» Vendors at the swap meet recently had their rent increased. To grow attendance, the swap meet has increased advertising in Waikiki, using its more than $100,000 annual visitor advertising budget.

Question: What's your story?

Answer: I graduated from Mililani High School then went to Leeward Community College. After I graduated, I started working with this company (Centerplate Inc.) in 1994 at Dole Ballrooms as a banquet porter.

Eventually, I worked my way up after I got my associate's degree in accounting from LCC, started to go to UH West Oahu to get my bachelor's.

I got promoted to head porter then to sales associate, where I book the events and parties.

I've worked in all areas of the department and discovered how things work there. I ended up at Aloha Stadium. I was office manager there also, did the accounting and the books and the financials. I got my hands into everything pretty much.

They're a good company. They adjusted my hours and I paid my way through college.

Q: The Stadium Authority raised swap meet vendors rent in June and the daily rent is being raised over the next two years to $75 a day for the busiest spots. This follows six years of no increases. Why?

A: Basically, this is where you get Hawaii's biggest bargain. This place is really known for that. That's why they've elected to raise prices.

Q: How much do vendors typically sell in a day?

A: It ranges. There's seasons for certain vendors. Sometimes they'll do better during winter months and summer months. A lot of the business is seasonal.

Q: For a clothing place, during a strong season, how much can they sell?

A: They can do from $300 to several thousand dollars a day.

Q: How about during a softer time?

A: When it's really raining, they could make a couple hundred dollars at the most.

Q: How will the vendors do with the higher rent?

A: They've hung on for many years. They've been here for 20-something years. They've gone through a lot of peaks and valleys of Hawaii's economy. They're survivors out there.

Q: How is the swap meet's attendance in the first half of the year compared to last year?

A: We're about 1 percent up.

Q: Why 1 percent? I understand the goal was 5 to 6 percent.

A: It's due to the weather during the first three months of the year. Christmas, it was wet the whole month basically.

Q: Your resume says you established Centerplate's computer networks. How did you learn to do that?

A: Pretty much on the job, self taught, learned on my own. I grew up with Nintendo and Atari so you know how that goes.

Q: How did you do it?

A: A lot of trial and error. The company would say we need a network here. I would say fine. Eventually I got my first network going. I do it for all the places now. I'm kind of the go-to guy for tech support here.

Inside Hawaii Inc. is a weekly conversation with business and community leaders. Suggestions can be sent to business@starbulletin.com.

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