LIHU‘E — Guests to the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, Thursday got a sneak peek into the work being done at the Kaua‘i Executive Center in the courtyard of the Kukui Grove Village.
The site formerly occupied by the Kaua‘i Athletic Club is undergoing renovation by Layton Construction and will become future office sites.
Jim Mayfield of Island Business & Commercial Brokerage teamed with Jared Watamull of Watamull Properties, owner of the Kaua‘i Executive Center, and Will Summerhays of Layton Construction, the contractor for the renovation work, in hosting the Chamber event.
“It’s exciting when you can just come out your front door to a party,” said Mary Lu Kelley of Oceanit, a tenant in the Kaua‘i Executive Center.
Jane Sawyer of the Small Business Administration was joined by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Wanda Kau-Shibata, the governor’s liason, and Kaua‘i County Council Chair Jay Furfaro and Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura in presenting the 2013 SBA Kaua‘i award winners.
“To create 170 jobs within a year is absolutely amazing,” Yukimura said while congratulating Beatrice Allen, vice president of the Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant, Fish Market and Sushi Lounge. “When my daughter Maile was growing up, she spent some time working at the Hanalei Dolphin. Today, Hanalei Dolphin recently opened another shop at The Shops at Kukui‘ula.”
Allen was named the 2013 SBA Small Business Person of the Year for Kaua‘i.
Robert Gunter, president of Koloa Rum Corp., was named the 2013 SBA Small Business Exporter of the Year for Kaua‘i. He said in addition to maintaining the Kukui Brand of products made from fresh fruit, the company shipped its first cases of Spice Rum to Australia.
Summerhays, who was in the Boston Marathon when the two explosions rocked the event, said said Layton Construction has been on Kaua‘i for eight years, working on projects like the Kaua‘i Community Federal Credit Union, Kalaheo Elementary School, the Koloa Landing, and the Courtyard by Marriott.
The 2013 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year went to Colby Ayonon of Kaua‘i Air Conditioning & Refrigeration. He said he is continuing the work set up by his father, and applying what he learned in college.
George Costa, the director of the county’s Office of Economic Development, was named the 2013 SBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year.
The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce is accepting registrations for upcoming events, including:
• A free continental breakfast at the grand opening at the Kaua‘i Therapy & Wellness And in home services on May 1 at 8 a.m. in the Puhi Building adjacent to Kaua‘i Harley-Davidson.
• Reservations are also being accepted for the Kaua‘i Museum and Contemporary Flavors Catering Chamber Business After Hours on May 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Kaua‘i Museum’s recently-renovated courtyard.
• Registration is also being taken for the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce Centennial Scholarship Golf Tournament which will take place on May 19 at the Po‘ipu Bay Golf Course. Registration opens at 6:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m.
• Reservations are also being accepted for the 15th Annual Governor’s Luncheon, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Medical Assurance Association on May 30 at the Courtyard by Marriott Kaua‘i at Coconut Beach starting at 11:30 a.m.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.