Not Afraid Of Change

By Donna Farrell
Wednesday - July 06, 2005
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Sheri Nagamine, Joyce Yoshida, Lynn Onaka, Debi
Chock, Donna Farrell, Heidi Kuia, Helene Colon
and Chester Hughes keep Victoria Ward Centers
running smoothly by taking changes in stride

They say that the only constant in life is change. In today’s fast-paced, everchanging retail and entertainment industries, keeping and attracting new customers is always an exciting challenge. It is an exciting time to be the new general manager of the properties and join the team that will be a part of this innovative project.

Though Victoria Ward Centers has been a landmark shopping and dining destination on Oahu, we wanted to revitalize the area for both our tenants and our customers to give them the best shopping experience possible. By creating our destination as a hot spot hub of activities, our retailers will be able to target a larger customer base. Our customers also enjoy a destination with an array of options.

Because customers are always looking for a good place to shop, dine and be entertained, we wanted to take a look at our overall retail structure and see how we could improve it. We came up with a concept where customers can live, work, dine, shop and play in the same area. This is a new concept in Hawaii, but one that’s becoming increasingly popular on the Mainland, especially in places where space is limited and land sells at premium prices. We expect it will be a popular concept because many people want to be close to the activities and excitement in downtown Honolulu. Based on this, last year we announced our new plans for the redevelopment of Victoria Ward Centers.

Today, you can already see a difference. The dark-brown Ward Warehouse building has been painted a cream and teal color scheme to match the rest of Victoria Ward Centers’ buildings. This makeover also marks Ward Warehouse’s 30th anniversary. But there are even bigger changes on the horizon. Ward Centre and Ward Gateway will have new shops added to their retail mix. New street-facing retail is being added to Ward Centre on Auahi Street, while a new retail building is being added to Ward Gateway Center. Retailers from Ward Village Shops and several new stores and restaurants will be included in these new projects which are anticipated to be completed by fall 2005.

The new Ward Village Shops, a project that will begin in 2006, will change the nature of retail shopping in Hawaii. Ala Moana, our sister mall, is known as Hawaii’s premier shopping destination, offering high-end shops and restaurants.

Currently, Victoria Ward Centers is recognized for its unique retail mix that appeals strongly to the local customer and the tourist market as well. The retail is balanced with a wellknown lineup of quality restaurants and the Ward 16 Theaters, which give the community a great place to bring the family, meet friends and relax. With the residential tower, we will be reshaping our image to be Oahu’s destination to not only dine, shop and play, but also to live.

We are very thankful to the shops and restaurants in our centers. They are what make up the heart and soul of Victoria Ward to enhance our customers’ experiences. Most of our tenants are one-of-akind small businesses that cater to targeted niches in the local retail market. Their presence creates the unique atmosphere and diversity of Victoria Ward Centers. Without the support of our merchants, we wouldn’t see such great progress with the redevelopment to make Victoria Ward Centers a successful destination.

When it really comes down to it, we want to make Victoria Ward Centers a great destination so our merchants can thrive. Their success is our motivation because without them we would be just another building. They are the bonds that make Victoria Ward Centers an even better destination for both our retailers and the community.

Next week: J. David Curb, MD, president and CEO/Medical Director of the Pacific Health Research Institute

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