• Kona Commons Shopping Center Honored with Pualu Award

    July 06, 2021
    Business Innovation Accolade Presented by Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce

    KONA, HAWAI`I (June2021) – Kona Commons was honored recently with a Pualu Award from the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce for the shopping center’s resilience, business innovation, and aloha exhibited during the economic crisis created by the pandemic.

    The Chamber annually recognizes businesses, organizations and individuals that work together to provide business leadership and community service in West Hawai`i. This year the Chamber asked members to submit stories of how they supported the community in a meaningful way, and/or demonstrated leadership and innovation while facing the global pandemic.

    The Chamber team that judged the award entries commented that they were impressed with the positive comments from merchants regarding the Center’s support during the pandemic, and that instead of businesses shutting their doors, new businesses were working to open their doors.

    While Kona Commons was no exception to the struggles which businesses faced during the pandemic, the shopping center, with the support of its ownership and General Manager Nancy Sakamoto, was able to survive and thrive. Management used innovative and creative tactics, that supported everyone at the Center.

    “Nancy has been on top of providing updates to the merchants – everything from PPP loans to PPE and the latest vaccination information,” said Brycean Baculpo, manager for Hawaiian Island Creations. He also praised the center for participating in media opportunities, such as Living 808, KHON-TV’s Hawaii lifestyle show, to showcase the Center. When pandemic protocols allowed, the Center restarted its popular monthly Artisan Markets, which brought shoppers to the Center, benefiting merchants as well as the market vendors, he said.
    While leading its 20 merchant tenants through the intricacies of the pandemic, Kona Commons kept a 40,000-square-foot renovation project moving forward and secured three sought-after merchants to fill newly constructed spaces. No mean feat as several store owners and contractors were located off-island – some as far away as New York City.

    “The communication and commitment by Kona Commons to provide the environment we needed allowed us to be successful and finish the job on time,” according to a Verizon construction representative. This sentiment was echoed by Old Navy, whose director of construction confirmed the Kona Commons management went “above and beyond to help us get started and finished on time.”

    Not one business closed during the pandemic, and some businesses netted a larger return in 2020 than in 2019. Their success meant the continued employment of more than 250 workers in the retail, food and beverage, services, and construction industries. These frontline workers were able to provide needed services to the community throughout the pandemic.

    Expressing her congratulations to Kona Commons, Wendy Laros, President and CEO of the Chamber, commented, "Despite the difficulties of this past year, Kona Commons skillfully provided leadership that resulted in positive impacts for its tenants, contractors and our community. The Center’s innovative approach to tackling COVID-19 challenges enabled its businesses to stay informed, open safely and, ultimately, serve their customers. General Manager Nancy Sakamoto and the entire team at Kona Commons are deserving recipients of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce 2021 Pualu Award for Business Innovation.”

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    About Kona Commons 

    Kona Commons, owned by local partners MacNaughton and Kobayashi Group, offers something for everyone and is home to 20 national and locally owned service amenities, shops, and restaurants.  The property regularly holds free, family-friendly community events, including movie nights, nonprofit partnership events and unique experiences for children.  For additional information about Kona Commons visit www.konacommons.com.     
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