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Old 01-06-2013, 07:47 PM
 
Location: not sure, but there's a hell of a lot of water around here!
2,683 posts, read 7,266,798 times
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'If you think the food is unsafe, don't eat there.' Unfortunately, Cagary, by the time you realize the food is 'unsafe' it's normally too late to,,,,, uuuurrrrpppp,,, scuze me, do anything about it...

Does this tartar sauce smell bad to you?????
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:26 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 14,148,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HIguild View Post
My wife is a domestic engineer. Our three kids are 6,4, and 1
Does this mean she will home school them? If not, you should read on this forum about the Hawaii public schools and their poor quality and scholastic ranking. It might influence your plans.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Japan
24 posts, read 75,662 times
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Hi nightlysparrow,
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightlysparrow View Post
Does this mean she will home school them? If not, you should read on this forum about the Hawaii public schools and their poor quality and scholastic ranking. It might influence your plans.
Possibly, depending on a few things, but we'd want them in public school with their peers, despite our misgivings about the Board of Education there. Thanks for the heads up, we'll heed your words.

HIguild
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Puna, Hawaii
3,783 posts, read 3,891,578 times
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"Ouch. Hope those folks were OK in the end. "

The put their house on the market, went back to the mainland, and have only negative things to say about Hawaii. The last day that their bakery was open they had a "grand closing" and gave free baked goods to the community. One of the people they fed went into their store room and stole two chainsaws.

The first inspector who showed up told him that he didn't like the previous tenant, so he was going to make his life a living hell. Apparently it was all uphill from there.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,969 posts, read 27,000,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cagary View Post
Your idea of a healthy bistro is great and would be very well received by the community wherever you decided to locate.
This is too simplistic to be anything a businessperson can plan on. A "healthy bistro" opened in Hilo last year, and was effectively run out of business within months because the chef was so bad, and the owner was traveling off-island and couldn't field the complaints and make corrections. It got KILLED by Yelp reviews, and had to be closed and the menu concept and name changed in order to try to overcome the very bad rep it had earned so quickly. Even without such problems, 25% of such new business starts are closed within a year, and 60% within three years, so it's not something to go into lightly.

Second, there are locations that would not work for your concept, because they don't have the right traffic in the area. You need to understand not only the demographics of an area, but also the traffic flow.

Third, there are locations where residents would fight your business opening at all. It's just a fact of life. Not everyone wants you.

Quote:
As terracore pointed out though, the Federal, State and Hawaii County government bureaucrats will conspire to crush your efforts. These parasites and their regulations will put you out of business no matter how hard you are willing to work. They get their taxpayer funded salaries no matter if they destroy the small businesses in the area or not. I hope that you somehow can speak to the hardworking family that operated the bakery in Mt. View and find out first hand about the nightmare they went through.
This is the newest version of the old scary story of the boogieman, and like many fairy tales it is popular. But it's not reality.

Quote:
Many of the small business you see in town were established long ago before the regulation epidemic started. The owners know the right people and are pretty much left alone. It is the new start ups that are preyed upon.
Any business serving food to the public is heavily regulated because the potential for making a lot of people sick is so high. There is no regulation epidemic. There was an underregulation problem that was causing food poisonings in the state to rise, so last year enforcement was increased. There are no bureaucrats trying to crush businesses. It's a nonsense claim based on political agenda, not facts.

Quote:
Whatever kind of business you try to open, stay small, stay away from applying for permits and keep your head down.
Following this advice will almost certainly get you in trouble. Rather, follow regulations to the letter, and be diligent about getting all necessary permits and keeping them current.

I have several neighbors who run food businesses of one kind or another, and a friend who runs two commercial kitchens. They all say the same thing... that regulations and inspections and reports and such can be a PITA sometimes, but they're doable. Otherwise they would all be in some other line of work.

And there is another side to the Mountain View story... as there often is. That's all I'll say about it.

As far as old timers getting some kind of a pass from regulators, last year saw a big crackdown on food vendors because food-borne illnesses in the state were on the rise. 42% of the food establishments did not pass inspection. If anything, enforcement had been lax due to underfunding, until their budget was raised last year. And in one of the high profile cases, old time and much favored business Kanemitsu Bakery on Molokai was repeatedly warned for serious health violations, then closed for failure to correct the problems, like bugs in the bread and a large rat infestation, despite repeated chances to clean it up.

So talking about existing businesses having it easier then new businesses is just a repetition of urban mythology that doesn't really check out.

Here's one of the news accounts about the crackdown from last fall, in case anyone missed it.

Hawaii Vendors Set For Food Safety Shake-Up | Maui Now
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Puna, Hawaii
3,783 posts, read 3,891,578 times
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I've owned/operated about a half dozen small businesses. Service industry and retail. I quit them all because of the oppressive regulation and taxation. All of them were in Alaska, which is one of (if not THE) lowest taxed and easiest regulated state in the country. Part of shedding that skin was coming to Hawaii where I will NEVER operate a business other than our small farm.

PLEASE come and open up a legal business in Hawaii. We need them.

To that end I'll post something else: Have you ever noticed that all of the stores in Hilo and Kona are crowded, all the time? Most stores would beg for the type of crowding I see here. Sure, towns here go to sleep early but it seems like what we need is more stores, maybe not more restaurants. It's almost enough to make me want to open another retail store. Wait... no, it's not.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:35 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,969 posts, read 27,000,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terracore View Post
To that end I'll post something else: Have you ever noticed that all of the stores in Hilo and Kona are crowded, all the time? Most stores would beg for the type of crowding I see here. Sure, towns here go to sleep early but it seems like what we need is more stores, maybe not more restaurants.
You may be onto something. There ARE goods and services that are not represented in the current local offerings, things that people wind up getting from the mainland, or doing without. And I can immediately think of several local business which carry goods which are not available elsewhere on the island.

Finding that sweet spot... selling something that is enough in demand to support a business, without directly competing with the commodity approach and low-price competition of the big box stores... that will take some real work to discover and develop, but I do think there is opportunity, yes.

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Japan
24 posts, read 75,662 times
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OpenD, brilliant, thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
It got KILLED by Yelp reviews, and had to be closed and the menu concept and name changed in order to try to overcome the very bad rep it had earned so quickly. Even without such problems, 25% of such new business starts are closed within a year, and 60% within three years, so it's not something to go into lightly.
This sounds more like the reality I'm familiar with, of course also along with the boogieman that apparently still haunts some people. At this point the only thing that's gonna stop me from trying my hand at a legal bistro, and I place emphasis on "legal", is my better half - she's made some great calls over the years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
Second, there are locations that would not work for your concept, because they don't have the right traffic in the area. You need to understand not only the demographics of an area, but also the traffic flow.

Third, there are locations where residents would fight your business opening at all. It's just a fact of life. Not everyone wants you.
Totally understand these two points, and I apologize for not telling you what it is that we plan to sell, while asking for where you think we best position ourselves. Terribly difficult to do, I know, but at this point I don't want to reveal our secret. I think if I told you - it'd be bam! "On the corner of 11 and..." or "adjacent to UH Hilo by the big palm... GO!" or "What, are you kidding me? Don't quit your day job!"

terracore,
Quote:
...but it seems like what we need is more stores, maybe not more restaurants.
This is something I noticed in some earlier research, hence "bistro" and not restaurant, with the fundamental differences being floorspace, ambiance, cost and menu size.

Cheers,

HIguild
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Volcano
12,969 posts, read 27,000,733 times
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Circling back to pick up a couple of interesting points that weren't aired out earlier...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIguild View Post
A quick look at Hilo Farmer's Market website says they charge $20 on Wednesdays and $28 on Saturdays for a food both, which seems ridiculously cheap to me - what's the catch? Low turn out?
No, it's usually kind of a mob scene. It's a "must do" for a lot of cruise ship passengers and tourists. I don't know for sure , but my best guess for its low rates is this... it's a 25 year old institution, and a very successful market. It has a lot of vendors (200+), and very little overhead. Keeping costs low enough for marginal vendors to participate keeps the vendor count high, which keeps it interesting for customers, and round and round the cycle goes. I also suspect some "Downtown Improvement" money may also be involved because the market keeps the foot traffic high in that whole area.

Quote:
We reckon the "big box" model is kaput, and it's not a matter of if but when.
Don't count on that any time soon in Hilo. It's still trending up. The biggest buzz in town the last couple of years was the opening of a big Target and a Super Safeway Plus, or whatever they call it. And there's a WalMart, a Home Depot, a Petco, etc. The parking lots in that area are often maxed out. And there are more huge retail pads available nearby, just waiting for development. What's next? A Lowes, perhaps, or a Sports Academy? Locals are now begging for a Costco, because so many people drag themselves over to Kona once or twice a month, over 2 hours travel each way and all that gas burnt!

That's why there are two separate but unequal business districts in Hilo today... all the modern shopping and accoutrements (3D movie theaters, gold buyers, Social Security Office) are at the big centers in South Hilo along Kanoelehua Ave. (Hwy 11)... while the kitschy local businesses are mostly clustered in the relatively low-rent and picturesque old downtown area, along the bayfront. If you look closely, a high number of the properties downtown a block or more over from the waterfront are either unused or underused, businesses that could not survive in Prince Kuhio Shopping Center. Plate lunch places, thrift shops, junk shops, surplus shops, cheapie souvenir shops... along with some distinctive and unique better shops along Kamehameha, like Dragon Mama and Sugar Coast Candy and the fireplace store, and Cafe Pesto.

In addition there are pockets of business frequented by locals all over town, like along Kilauea, and in the scruffy areas just north and south of the airport, etc. Be sure you get around to see all aspects of the town while you're here, not just the most popular tourist spots.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Japan
24 posts, read 75,662 times
Reputation: 23
Thanks for not letting anything slide by you, OpenD.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
No, it's usually kind of a mob scene. It's a "must do" for a lot of cruise ship passengers and tourists. I don't know for sure , but my best guess for its low rates is this... it's a 25 year old institution, and a very successful market. It has a lot of vendors (200+), and very little overhead. Keeping costs low enough for marginal vendors to participate keeps the vendor count high, which keeps it interesting for customers, and round and round the cycle goes. I also suspect some "Downtown Improvement" money may also be involved because the market keeps the foot traffic high in that whole area.
Aha! and you just gave me the idea to YouTube "Hilo Farmer's Market", which I did, and I SAW. No kidding on the foot traffic, and that lady was selling Big Island pineapples, not the Maui Gold (gmo), and five {5} papayas for $2. Sheesh.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
Don't count on that any time soon in Hilo. It's still trending up.
Ouch, the truth hurts sometimes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
That's why there are two separate but unequal business districts in Hilo today... all the modern shopping and accoutrements (3D movie theaters, gold buyers, Social Security Office) are at the big centers in South Hilo along Kanoelehua Ave. (Hwy 11)... while the kitschy local businesses are mostly clustered in the relatively low-rent and picturesque old downtown area, along the bayfront. If you look closely, a high number of the properties downtown a block or more over from the waterfront are either unused or underused, businesses that could not survive in Prince Kuhio Shopping Center. Plate lunch places, thrift shops, junk shops, surplus shops, cheapie souvenir shops... along with some distinctive and unique better shops along Kamehameha, like Dragon Mama and Sugar Coast Candy and the fireplace store, and Cafe Pesto.

In addition there are pockets of business frequented by locals all over town, like along Kilauea, and in the scruffy areas just north and south of the airport, etc. Be sure you get around to see all aspects of the town while you're here, not just the most popular tourist spots.
I did notice the contrast between waterfront and downtown, with little visible economic activity in the later. And for everything else you typed, thanks! We'll spend a good chunk of time there when we visit, and perchance a good chunk of change, too. I havta get my fill of Big Island dragon fruit.

Cheers,

HIguild
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