With this “Maui Issue” of the Herald, we can now say with the pride of accomplishment that our neighbor island issues are back on track. In a few months, we will begin planning for our second annual Big Island issue. It feels awfully good to say that word — “annual” — for, according to the Associated Press Stylebook, which we adhere to (for the most part) in writing for and editing the Herald, “An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held in at least two successive years. Do not use the term first annual . . .”
Without a travel budget, we’ve had to be creative, to say the least. I happened to be driving home last month with the radio tuned to a simulcast of a television newscast when I heard about an airfare price war between Island Air and Hawaiian Airlines. The fare was $65 one way, but only for two days. As soon as I had parked my car, I contacted our advertising manager Karlton Tomomitsu and told him that he had to get approval — and quick — to get that fare so he could fly to Maui to meet with advertisers. Hardly your traditional way of doing business.
It was more important that Karlton go and meet with potential advertisers than Gwen or myself, for I had been communicating with a few journalists about freelancing for this issue — journalists such as current Maui News reporter Eileen Chao and former all-around Maui News staffer Roy Tanaka, who relocated to the Mainland with his wife in 2009 to help with family caregiving. We thank them for sharing their talents and professionalism with the Herald.
The Herald has enjoyed a good relationship with The Maui News, thanks to its current managing editor, Lee Imada, who, way back in the 1990s — in his early years with The Maui News — did some freelance writing for the Herald. That friendship has endured, and we are extremely grateful for Lee’s support.
Throughout his two days on the ground on Maui, Karlton sent me email updates on his sales progress. Wherever he went, he came across businesses, many of them small mom-and-pops, that were now being run by the Sansei and Yonsei descendants of its founders — businesses like Pukalani Superette, Tanikai, Home Maid Bakery, Sam Sato’s, Ameritone Maui, Nagamine Photo Studio, Tasty Crust, even a nonprofit organization like the Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai. Even Shore to Shore Realty traces its origins to the Realtor who started the company, Nobu Agena.
Realtors Al Imamura and Van Waki bought the company from Agena’s family after he died in an auto accident. On their website, they note that they promised the family that they would continue to run the company in a manner that honored Mr. Agena.
When you stop and think about it, few things are as challenging these days than running a small business, especially in today’s big-box retail environment, which has grown exponentially in recent years. At the same time, imagine the pride a young yonsei feels to be carrying on an enterprise started by their immigrant grandparents, or great-grandparents, who struggled against the odds to build their business, in today’s business environment.
We know that these businesses do not have deep pockets — more than likely, they don’t even have an advertising budget. But they’ve got big hearts, and an understanding that what they do and what we are trying to do here at the Herald is the essence of building community. It is about supporting each other and supporting a product that celebrates their community, so please support these businesses, organizations and people.
To journalists Roy Tanaka, Eileen Chao and Lee Imada, and the advertisers listed below who supported this issue, we extend a heartfelt mahalo nui loa! You can bet there will be a second annual Maui Issue! — Okage sama de . . . because of you.
Home Maid Bakery
Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai
Nagamine Photo Studio, Inc.
Pine Isle Market, Ltd.
Sam Sato’s, Inc.
Seki’s Machine Works, Inc.
Shore to Shore Realty, Inc.,
Tokyo Tei Restaurant