January 1, 2010 marks a new day for pineapple production on Maui, as a team that includes five former Maui Pineapple Company executives assume operations of Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc.
The five join Ulupalakua Ranch’s Pardee Erdman in running the newly named Haliimaile Pineapple Company, Ltd. The new company will officially assumes operations tomorrow, January 1, 2010 and will continue to grow and market fresh pineapple under the established Maui Gold® Brand.
HPC has purchased and licensed key assets, and leased farm land, equipment and buildings from ML&P with plans to serve the Hawaii market.
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“We are proud to continue the 100 year legacy of pineapple on Maui,” said Darren Strand, president and CEO of the new company.
“Haliimaile Pineapple Company brings new hope for a new year by immediately saving 65 agricultural jobs with an expectation of adding more in the future,” said Strand.
Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares responded to the announcement this afternoon saying, “I am extremely grateful to the company for their commitment to continue Maui Gold pineapple on Maui. I was excited to hear that nearly 70 employees will retain jobs associated with Haliimaile Pineapple Company and I’m confident that the new company will find success.”
“The company founders, shareholders and directors are to be commended for their work in making this happen. Since first learning about this effort, I’ve been very excited about the possibilities. The fact that jobs are saved and pineapple farming continues is absolutely great news for our county,” said Mayor Tavares.
Governor Linda Lingle also welcomed the news saying, “I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year than with preservation of 65 agricultural jobs and the prospect of creating more jobs for our residents in the long-term. The new company and the ongoing cultivation of pineapple on Maui will help stimulate our economy and also inject a boost of confidence in what has been a challenging year.”
Key shareholders and directors in the new company include Pardee Erdman, owner of Ulupalakua Ranch; Doug Schenk, former president of Maui Pineapple Company; former vice presidents of MPC, Doug MacCluer and Ed Chenchin; and current operating directors for MPC, Darren Strand and Rudy Balala. The group brings over 150 years of combined expertise in growing and packing premium pineapple on Maui.
HPC will consolidate its plantation, fresh fruit packing facility, cold storage, and shipping operations in Haliimaile to maximize efficiency and product quality. Company officials say they will continue to provide the highest quality of fresh pineapple to local hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets while increasing its direct consumer business.
ILWU Local 142 Maui Division Director, Willie Kennison said, “We are grateful to Haliimaile Pineapple Company for saving these jobs to make this a happy New Year for so many Maui families.
In a news release today, company officials said they would hire existing ML&P employees and the ILWU will continue to represent the company’s workers.
ML&P Chairman and Interim CEO, Warren H. Haruki said, “We are gratified to see the continuation of pineapple farming on Maui. The new company’s simplifie3d business model and targeted local market, along with the flexibility and cooperation of the ILWU are key ingredients for their future success,” Haruki said.
(Posted by Wendy Osher)