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Thursday, June 15, 2017


As I sit in a Lahaina Starbucks with my iPad Air 2, thinking about what subject to blog, I must discuss one thing. An issue that is of concern. The business climate here does not favor the small business owner. I do understand that all business people are out to make a buck, that's fact and not fiction. However I've said this many of times, if a local business starts up, and if that business does not have sufficient funds, it will shut down. 

Over the las few weeks, a local pizza joint closed down right in our hood. Italian Delight in business for a few years went under. When they first opened, my thoughts were, "how long will they last?" In my mind, I gave them two years max, they fooled me and stayed open a little longer, however eventually closed down.

Since my blog is about food, then let's stick to the restaurant business shall we? One must consider the rising cost of shipping as a key factor, next would be the power bills, and all other overheads, like the biggest one, the rent/lease. Let's just say, in previous studies by well known business media, Maui and Hawaii in general is not a conducive spot to do business, unless one has deep, deep pockets to weather any storm. One major storm of any kind can put a business under really quick.

Here is one factor to consider if you want to open an eatery here. First of all what are you going to sell? Is it something so uncommon that instead of selling it on opening day, will you find yourself explaining your product to the masses? If so this will be disaster from the get go. There was a Malay restaurant in Kahana that recently closed down. The owners claim they studied Malay food or the street foods of Malaysia and spent time there learning the craft. Well that's fine and dandy, but Malay foods aren't too popular here on Maui. I could have told them that. Well for one thing, they opened upstairs in a Kahana shopping mall. Upstairs? Forget it, plus that room they rented was once the space occupied by Roy's the master himself of Pacific Rim cuisine, Roy Yamaguchi's ghost remains. Foodies in the know, well they just know, you can't put something similar to Roy's in an ex-Roy's space.

The other factor? Your landlord. There's really good landlords that want the best for a business to take off, as they understand if you do well, they get their money. However there are landlords that will cut your throat once you start to make a profit. It looks something like this.

* A restaurant makes a certain amount per month, they pay the regular monthly rent
* If that restaurant makes a certain amount over the agreed payments, they will have to pay the landlord an agreed percentage.

So for every extra dollar a business makes, they will lose more money, let's say it's a big ass 20%, that's .20 for every dollar, that's robbery. Why stay in business to make the landlords rich? Greed is detrimental. In the olden days, and I'm not promoting violence. In days gone by, greedy landlords could be killed. When you push a hard working man to the wall, and he is not profitable because of greedy landlords, you can see his point of view if he did off a landlord.

Maui is not a business friendly location unless you have deep pockets. Sure it can be said for anywhere in the country, however Maui with its aloha mentality, where everything is so nice, like a fairytale, reality is reality. Honest small business owners especially in the food industry is shutting down shop, and that is Un-American. Put it this way, if I owned buildings to lease out to small business owners, I'd just make sure their rents covered all of my expenses, and enough to profit. The better off my tennants, the better off the economy.

Copyright 2017