Y. Hata & Co. celebrates 100 years in business

What began in a Hilo backyard 100 years ago has now grown into a massive statewide food service and food distribution corporation.

This year, Y. Hata & Co. celebrates 100 years in business. The chairman and CEO says he has the employees to thank for the company’s success.

“It was a struggle. We hit negative equity in ’93 or ’94, so everything the company made for the prior years was gone and we pretty much started all over,” Y. Hata & Co. chairman and CEO Russell Hata said.

Through wars, the unstable economy, and strikes, the restaurant supplier has adapted to its surroundings, implementing the latest advancements in technology to keep up with supply and demand.

“You cannot have one strategy and stick to it forever. The strategy has to continually change with the environment, the competition with the desires of the customer base thereafter,” Hata said.

In order to save money and help the environment, the company installed motion sensing LED lights.

The company also saves 22 percent of electricity costs thanks to a photovoltaic installation on the warehouse roof put in two years ago.

Officials say to save money, you must invest money and more importantly, give back to the more than 200 workers in Hilo and on Oahu.

“We try to take care of the employees as much as possible,” Hata said.

In honor of the company centennial celebration, employees were given bonuses to their 401k and an employee lounge was created on property.

“I guess the bottom line is perseverance, keep on striving and keep on working hard,” Hata said.

With two dozen big rig trucks, more than 10,000 products and millions invested to keep the company going.

“It’s been a challenge, it’s been fun, it’s become a lot more fun,” Hata said.

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