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Hawaii Visit of March 2012

Kelle Vandenberg

By Mark Howley

Justin Jensen and Melanie Wong at dinner in Waikiki.

Justin Jensen and Melanie Wong at dinner in Waikiki.

The weather let me down!  I planned to escape rainy Seattle, and enjoy beaches and sunsets, but clouds, lightening and rain followed me.  Oh well…on with work! My recent trip to Hawaii included:

a) A visit with our master distributor, Premium Inc. and PBi’s Justin Jensen* in Honolulu

b) Visits to coffee roasters on Oahu, the Big island, and Maui

c) Visits to Kona Coffee Farms

*Justin Jensen, PBi sales/service representative, has been in Hawaii for the last two months, working for PBi. He worked from Premium offices in Honolulu, and traveled the islands to promote PBi and service accounts.  Justin provided training at Premium, and we created a better partnership between Premium and PBi.  Melanie Wong, President of Premium, was a great hostess while Alohalani Aran, worked with Justin on a day-to-day basis. Justin returned to Seattle March 16 – bring home sun!  Thanks Premium! 

THE HAWAII MARKETS

Koa Plantation uses stock bags and a custom printed quad seal bag.

Koa Plantation uses stock bags and a custom printed quad seal bag.

“The Hawaiian market is the best place to see a full range of package styles.”

In Hawaii, tourism and Asia affect business. Everyone we visited reported a good bounce back in tourism from the mainland and especially from Asian countries. It’s interesting to hear about companies in Hawaii who are closely aligned with Asian cultures, customers and markets. The East and West perspective is cool, and it was nice to hear and see optimism on the islands. 

I have said it before, and this trip confirmed it: “The Hawaiian markets are the best place to see a full range of package styles.” Every type of package is on display at the ABC stores, the small cafes and gift shops.  If you wander from one shop to another and from one island to another, you see diverse package styles and attention grabbing graphics.

OAHU

Oahu (Honolulu) is bustling with activity and coffee companies. A few of the biggest roasters such as Hawaiian Isles use automated packaging lines to produce attractive side gusseted bags for many of the large and small retail stores.  The operation is impressive and their branding is fantastic. On the other hand, there are a myriad of smaller roasters, like Honolulu Coffee Company, Euram and Mulvadi, with successful businesses and exciting plans. Premium, Inc. is headquartered in Honolulu and provides excellent local service to the customers and prospects.

MAUI

A full array of labeled side gusseted bags at Maui Coffee Roasters - a great cafe!

A full array of labeled side gusseted bags at Maui Coffee Roasters - a great cafe!

On Maui, we stopped by to see David Gridley at Maui Oma. Maui Oma toll roasts coffee for a wide range of folks on the island, and he is great friend to PBi.  David reports solid demand and we enjoyed seeing his smiling face.  Our next stop: Nickie Matchyn’s place, Maui Coffee Roasters. Nickie has been roasting coffee on Maui for years, and a PBi visit to Maui always includes a sit down with Nickie. His café in Kahului is a must see - wonderful (444 Hana Highway, Kahului, HI ).

Lastly, the Maui Grown coffee farm, with the direction of Kimo Faulkner, continues to grow, and bring Maui coffees to the market.

KONA

Greenwell Farms uses matte finish bags with a label and custom printed bags. The labeled matte bags look great!

Greenwell Farms uses matte finish bags with a label and custom printed bags. The labeled matte bags look great!

Kona is vibrant and filled with farmers and roasters who work hard to provide customers top-notch and world class coffee. Justin and I visited a handful of folks and had nice meetings all over the island. Many roasters/retailers in Kona have the luxury of controlling retail location and shelf presentation; therefore package styles vary from company to company. The island is so diverse it’s impossible to mention everyone, but PBi stand-up pouches, side gusseted bags, custom printed bags and labeled bags are all over the island.

Note: Premium, Inc. opened a warehouse in Hilo, which provides Big island customers with a local source for stock bags. 

We love packaging, but it’s impossible to visit Hawaii, especially Kona, without learning about the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB). The CBB (see footnote 1) infestation is a huge issue and reduces Kona coffee supply. The lost production will likely affect supply and consequently price. The Kona coffee farmers work hard to mitigate the problem, but solutions require organization, time and money. We wish them the best of luck!

PBi, and our distributor Premium supply stock bags (side gusseted bags and stand-up pouches), labeling services, custom printed bags, rollstock and one-way valves throughout the islands. Our customers include companies on every island, including the small, the medium and large. We are proud of our involvement!

Lastly, the vibrant entrepreneurs in Hawaii are always a source of excitement and I still think “the Hawaiian market is the best place to see a full range of package styles.”

(1) The coffee berry borer is a small beetle and is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee growing regions of the world, including Central and South America. The beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Because the larvae are inside the bean, it makes it difficult to control by pesticides.

Source: ALIEN PEST ALERT! Coffee Berry Borer Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari)