Business Wrap: Two Hilo Landmarks Close, PR Firm Wins Award

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Retirement seemed to be a common theme in business news this week.

Some retirements lead to business closures, like the closing of Ebesugawa Sisters, while others led to expansion, as in the case of Dodo Mortuary buying Cremation Services of West Hawaii.

Here’s a look at business happenings aroudn the Big Island this week.

Baker Tom’s closes

Baker Tom’s in Papaikou closed this week after 10 years in business. The bakery was well known for its malasadas and cheesecakes.

Owner Rand Walls cited an increase in rent for his store’s location as the reason for the closure on Wednesday, September 19. The higher rent was scheduled to go into effect on September 28.


Walls has expressed interest in opening at another location in the Hilo area. However he has indicated that if another location can not be found, he will retire.

Another well known Hilo area establishment is also closing its doors this month.


Long-time Hilo flower shop closing

Well-known Hilo flower shop Ebesugawa Sisters is closing after nearly 80 years in business. The local shop, formerly known as Ebesu’s, has been an institution for eight decades in downtown Hilo selling fresh flowers and fruit baskets. Ebesu’s was started by Seiichi Ebesugawa in 1932 who sold fresh produce.


For many years all six of Seiichi’s daughters – the Ebesugawa sisters – worked at the shop. The store closed for a short time in 1990 when the sisters, who were then in their 70s, retired for the first time.

Five of the sisters reopened the store at the Furnaux Lane location, renaming it Ebesugawa Sisters, and it has been in business ever since. Only one sister, Ann Ebesugawa Kaya, remains working at the store, and at the age of 91 she has decided to retire. September 29 is the last day the flower shop will be open.


Waimea PR firm wins prestigious award

Kinoshita Communications recently received a prestigious public relations award for their work on behalf of Bite Me Sportsfishing. The Waimea-based firm, led by Laura Kinoshita, was presented with the Koa Anvil Award at the 29th annual awards ceremony of the Hawaii chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.


The campaign was lauded for its ability to generate increased awareness of the Kona sportfishing and restaurant company, improved ranking in search engine results, and reduced costs for online advertising.


Big Island’s largest funeral home expanding

The largest funeral home on the island is about to get bigger. East Hawaii-based Dodo Mortuary Inc. and Crematory recently announced it purchased Cremation Services of West Hawaii.

The move enables Dodo Mortuary, which has been in operation for more than a century, to conduct cremations in West Hawaii in addition to its Hilo facility. The owners of Cremation Services approached Dodo about acquiring their company, which they started in 2005, due to their impending retirement.

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