How does a successful Hawaii based-company export and grow its business outside of Hawaii? Our panel features executives from three Hawaii-based companies that have expanded beyond our shores. What factors led to geographical expansion? What adjustments did they make for Mainland customers? How does doing business on the Mainland compare with doing business in Hawaii? What are the challenges and opportunities?
Edward D. (Ed) Sultan is the Chairman and CEO of Na Hoku, Inc., a kama’aina business operating in Hawaii since 1924, the largest jewelry manufacturer in Hawaii and one of the largest in the Western United States. In addition to Hawaii, Na Hoku, Inc. operates fine jewelry stores in California, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington as “Na Hoku, Hawaii’s Finest Jewelers Since 1924” and “Pearl Factory, Hawaii’s Original Pearl-in-the-Oyster”. Ed has a Business Administration degree with a dual emphasis in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Colorado.
Elisia Flores is the vice chairman and chief financial officer for L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. There are nearly 200 L & L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurants in Hawaii, California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Texas, New York, Tennessee, Guam and Japan. Elisia serves on the board of American Savings Bank, and on the boards of Diamond Head Theatre, the Hawaiian Humane Society and the Hawaii Restaurant Association. She also serves on the advisory boards of the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership, the KCC Culinary Arts Program, the UH Family Business Center of Hawaii.
Hisae Uki is the vice president of marketing & communications at Sun Noodle, the leading manufacturer of freshly made ramen and Asian noodle products in the United States. Headquartered in Honolulu, Sun Noodle has additional factories in Los Angeles, California and Carlstadt, New Jersey. It supplies ramen-yas and restaurants in North America, South America and Europe. With her brother Kenshiro, Hisae launched an innovative ramen pop up concept, Ramen Lab, in New York City. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound, and an M.B.A. from the University of Hawai’i - Shidler College of Business.