Winners of the 2014 Mayor’s Small Business Awards Unveiled
By Maui Now Staff
The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2014 Mayor’s Small Business Awards.
The list of recipients include: James “Jason” Stenger Jr. of Alpha, Inc. for Young Small Business Person; The Maui Farm for Outstanding Nonprofit Business; Valley Isle Marine Center for Exceptional Small Business with 10 or fewer employees; A Saigon Cafe for Exceptional Small Business with 11 to 35 employees; Marmac Ace Hardware for Exceptional Small Business with 36 to 100 employees; Jim and Rand Coon of Trilogy for Lifetime Achievement; and Wailani Tanaka, owner of Something for Everybody was issued the Annette Pauole-Ahakuelo Honorary Award for Molokaʻi.
The individuals and businesses were honored during an awards dinner on Feb. 26 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club.
“Small businesses are Maui County’s most important economic engine, and these awards celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well in Maui County,” said Mayor Arakawa in a press release.
“Business owners take many risks, work long hours and put their personal assets on the line to provide our community with goods and services, as well as much-needed employment. I congratulate each of this year’s winners, and wish them continued success,” he said.
The mayor’s office highlighted each award recipient with a brief description of their service and accomplishments recapped below:
Young Small Business Person of the Year: At 32, James “Jason” Stenger Jr. established Alpha, Inc., specializing in site work, water well drilling and renewable energy systems. Revenue increased by 350% in the last two years, and is expected to reach record levels in 2014.
Outstanding Nonprofit Business of the Year: The Maui Farm, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that has been providing farm-based, family-centered programs for more than 20 years that teach essential life skills for self-sufficient living. They have created new programs to meet growing community needs using their campus, facility and two-acre farm.
Exceptional Small Business of the Year with 10 or fewer employees: Valley Isle Marine Center has been in business for 44 years, with two Maui locations and one location in Hilo. The company works to ensure employees are knowledgeable about the latest industry technology.
Exceptional Small Business of the Year with 11-35 employees: The success of A Saigon Cafe is attributed to owner Jennifer Nguyen’s mother who said “Give quality service to each customer, use the freshest ingredients, and take things one day at a time.” The restaurant keeps things fresh with produce from Jennifer’s own two-acre farm and the select ingredients she picks.
Exceptional Small Business of the Year with 36-100 employees: Bill & Maureen Marrs founded Marmac Ace Hardware in 1971. Despite great adversity and a recession, they achieved the dream of opening another store. The Maui Lani store created 20 new jobs and offers items not found at big-box competitors.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Trilogy is a 40-year-old company led by sailors Jim and Rand Coon. Their business practices address conservation and improvement of Maui’s environment. Today, they are a fourth generation business with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren participating.
Annette Pauole-Ahakuelo Honorary Award for Molokaʻi: In business for a little over a year, Something for Everybody fills a niche by selling clothing, household goods and Made-on-Molokaʻi, music, and accessories.
The awards dinner was held in partnership with the Maui Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by Gold Sponsor Maui Electric Company; Silver Sponsor Akina Aloha Tours, Bronze Sponsor First Hawaiian Bank, and Supporting Sponsors VIP Foodservice and Munekiyo & Hiraga, Inc.