For over 100 years, the Maui Chamber of Commerce has been supporting small businesses in this community. It is not only our mission, it is our passion. We know the hard work and tremendous sacrifice it takes just to start a small business, let alone grow it, create a quality work environment, make it successful, benefit the community, and give back. It is no easy feat.
The reality is that being in business is rough. According to the Small Business Administration, over 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first five years. That is why we make opportunities to celebrate the accomplishments of successful small businesses. We partnered with Mayor Alan Arakawa years ago to create the Mayor's Small Business Awards. These prestigious awards bring a high level of attention and recognition to deserving small businesses in Maui County, and give us all an opportunity to appreciate their exceptional qualities and thank them for their efforts.
The nominations for the 2012 Mayor's Small Business Awards are in for the following six award categories:
* Exceptional Small Business of the Year (10 or fewer employees).
* Exceptional Small Business of the Year (11 to 25 employees).
* Exceptional Small Business of the Year (26 to 50 employees).
* Outstanding Non-Profit Business (50 or fewer employees).
* Young Small Business Person of the Year (under age 40 as of March 29, 2012).
* Lifetime Achievement Award (for any individual doing business in Maui County for more than 20 years).
The companies and individuals nominated for this year's awards are:
* Naomi Newirth, Acacia Swimwear.
* Les Tomita and Mariah Brown, Da Kitchen.
* Jay Wisthoff, Kathy Wisthoff, Amy Wisthoff-Martin and Dan Martin, Ho'oilo House.
* Imua Family Services.
* Michael Kelley, Kaanapali Kai Charters Inc.
* Richard Dan, Kamaaina Loan.
* Grant Schule and Emanuela Vinciguera, Kumu Farms.
* Joe Rossi, Maui Babe Inc.
* Debbie and Mike Finkiewicz, Maui Closet Co.
* Maui Friends of the Library.
* Panna Speas Cappelli, Maui Hands Inc.
* Michael Leong, Maui Optix.
* Paul Dobson, Maui Rental Group LLC.
* Carrie Gebb, Paragon Salon.
* Kerry Honda, Pine Isle Market Ltd.
* Charley Neal, Scuba Shack.
* Robert Soto, Soto's Security Solutions LLC.
* The Maui Food Bank.
* John B. Guard III and Susan Guard, The Pet Shop Inc.
* Josh Jerman, The Wailea Group LLC.
* Megan Kanekoa, Wailuku Coffee Co.
Each nominee will be honored at the 2012 Mayor's Small Business Awards event, have their photo taken with the mayor, and receive a certificate or an award during the celebration.
Please stand with us in noting the achievements of and cheering on these small businesses and individuals this Thursday at the 2012 Mayor's Small Business Awards Ceremony in the Waikapu Ballroom at the King Kamehameha Golf Club, starting at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $50 each and are available through the Maui Chamber of Commerce at 244-0081. It is going to be a fun and rewarding night. We look forward to seeing you there!
* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.