Maui Business

Maui Small Business Person of the Year: Garrett Marrero

March 13, 2012, 5:07 PM HST
* Updated March 15, 12:47 PM
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Garrett Marrero, founder of Maui Brewing Company, is the SBA Small Business Person of the Year for Maui County. Courtesy of SBA.

By Sonia Isotov

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the Hawaii winners of the prestigious 2012 SBA Small Business Awards, including two Maui winners.

Garrett Marrero, founder of Maui Brewing Company, is the Small Business Person of the Year for Maui County and Clarence Tavares, president of Sony Vicks Paving, Inc. is the SBA Family-Owned Business of the Year representing Maui County.

Each year, SBA honors outstanding small business owners, entrepreneurs and advocates who best illustrate the important contributions of small business to the local economy and to our quality of life.

In all, the SBA Hawaii District recognized 27 exceptional small business owners, advocates and leaders from across the islands that will be honored at the 25th Annual Statewide SBA Small Business Awards Luncheon on May 9, 2012, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Jane Sawyer, SBA Hawaii District Director. Courtesy of SBA Hawaii.


“Hawaii’s 2012 SBA Small Business Awards reflect the diversity of our small business community – in their products and services, marketing, management models, social and cultural awareness, yet all with a real commitment to success and taking their business to the next level,” said District Director Jane Sawyer of the US Small Business Administration, in a written statement.


“It is inspiring to see such entrepreneurial spirit and determination. They represent a great mix of the key industries we need to push the local economy forward including retail, tourism, food and hospitality, manufacturing, export, construction, and financial and personal services.”

The 2012 Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Hawaii is Michael Tokunaga, President of S. Tokunaga Store in Hilo. This family owned shop caters to fishing, diving and sport enthusiasts. Tokunaga Store is now in competition for the national title and is invited to celebrate National Small Business Week in Washington, DC with the winners from the other 49 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Top small business owners were also selected to represent each of the counties in this very competitive category.   The winners are:

  • On Oahu, Norman “Puna” and Cricket Nam of the perennially popular Cinnamon’s Restaurant in Kailua took the title of Small Business Persons of the Year for the City and County of Honolulu.
  • Marie Cassel of Sweet Marie’s Hawaii, a wholesale bakery and restaurant in Lihue, noted for decadent, gluten free desserts and catering, was chosen as the Small Business Person for Kauai.
  • The County of Maui is represented by Garrett Marrero, Founder of Maui Brewing Company in Lahaina.  The award-winning brewery and pub supports local agriculture, sustainability and has created 24 full-time and 30 part-time positions since opening in 2005.
  • William “Bill” Dwyer, President of Kona Mountain Coffee, was named Small Business Person of the Year for Hawaii County, recognizing his branding expertise and strategic planning to expand the coffee retailer and wholesaler.

Clarence Tavares, president of Sony Vicks Paving, Inc. is the SBA Family-Owned Business of the Year for Maui County. Courtesy of SBA.


Along with these businesses, other business owners and champions in eight categories are being honored for their accomplishments and business acumen.

The State of Hawaii Family Owned Small Business Award winner, Susumu Oshima, is recognized for her entrepreneurial leadership in keeping the 85-year-old Oshima Brothers Store in Kealakekua thriving and relevant for four generations.  Other Family Owned Business winners are:

  • County of Maui  – Clarence Tavares, Sonny Vicks Paving, Inc. in Puunene
  • County of Kauai – Donn “Curly” and Gale Carswell (and Family) of Carswell Enterprises dba Princeville Ranch Adventures
  • City and County of Honolulu – Roland Kuroda, President of Kuroda Auto Repair, Inc. in Waipahu

The State of Hawaii Small Business Exporter of the Year for 2012 is Island Slipper Factory, Ltd. Owners John and Daisy Carpenter operate a plant and warehouse in Pearl City as well as a retail outlet at Ward Warehouse.

Other export honorees include:

  • County of Kauai – Laura Cristobal, owner and creator of Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salts in Lihue.
  • City and County of Honolulu – Wayne and Carina Sugiyama of Wayne’s Ocean World, based in Aiea.

The State of Hawaii Young Entrepreneur award is presented to Jerry Guyo, President of Pacific Ice Services, Inc., the technician-turned-entrepreneur owner of the refrigeration servicing and sales company in Honolulu.

  • County of Kauai  – Jeni Kaohelaulii, President of  Work It Out in Kapaa
  • City and County of Honolulu – Donna Ogawa, Owner of O Salon & Day Spa in Ewa Beach

The State of Hawaii Financial Services Champion is Glenn Kishida, CPA and financial advisor with Nexus Trusted Advisors in Honolulu.

The Minority Small Business Champion title goes to Dana Hauanio, director of the minority business center at the University of Hawaii Shidler School of Business.

Also recognized in this category are:

  • County of Kauai – Patricia Griffin, President of the Lihue Business Association
  • City and County of Honolulu – Joseph Burns, Hawaii Small Business Development Center Network, Honolulu Center Director

As the 2012 Veteran Small Business Champion for the State of Hawaii, Vince Dydasco, a committed volunteer of the SCORE Hawaii Chapter.

The Women in Business Champion award goes to Kathleen Davenport, owner of Kathleen Davenport Photography and co-founder of the West Oahu Women’s Network.

The State of Hawaii Home based Business Champion is Constance Cate, director of the East Hawaii Small Business Development Center Network office, CPA and private business owner. Home Based Champions honored in 2012 also include:

  • City and County of Honolulu – Cynthia Clark, owner of Coastal Accounting Consultants, based in Wahiawa;
  • County of Kauai  – Liz Ronaldson, owner of Growing Greens Nursery in Kapaa
  • County of Hawaii – Vivian Landrum, President, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce in Kailua- Kona;
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