One Of Hawaii’s True Love’s
Wednesday - November 26, 2008
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By Mike Walters
President & CEO Love’s Bakery Inc.
A hundred and fifty-seven years is a long time for any company to be in business. So let me put it into perspective.
In 1851, when Robert Love Sr. opened his Love’s Biscuit and Bread Company on Nuuanu Avenue, less than four years had passed since the Great Mahele.
It would be another year before the first Chinese immigrants would arrive to work on Hawaii’s expanding sugar plantations, more than 20 years before Father Damien would begin his work at Kalaupapa, and 40 years before Queen Liliuokalani would begin her reign.
To say Love’s Bakery is a venerable icon of the Islands would be a gross understatement. Its presence in Hawaii has not only had a business impact, but a cultural one as well. For generations, Love’s has been synonymous with the loaf of bread that sits on nearly every islanders’ dining table. Tens of thousands of residents hold fond memories of school field trips to our facilities.
When a company has existed as long as Love’s and has literally grown up with the community, it becomes a part of our collective consciousness and identity. That’s why I believe so many here welcomed the recent news that Love’s Bakery would return to local ownership.
Last July, First Baking Company and local management jointly announced that Hawaii’s last large commercial supplier of freshly baked bread would once again become locally owned. The sale was recently completed, preserving our ability to produce freshly baked bread right here in Hawaii and reducing the state’s reliance on imported goods.
For more than 157 years, Love’s employees have been producing fresh, quality bread for island families, first in downtown Honolulu, then in Iwilei. In 1942, we moved our operations to Kapahulu Avenue and finally to Middle Street in 1991. We remained a locally owned company for most of our history, but were sold to First Baking Company Ltd. of Japan in 1981.
We have enjoyed tremendous local support and brand loyalty in the Islands, demonstrated by the dominant market share of the Love’s, Roman Meal and Milton’s brands. We remain committed to revitalizing our operations, with the addition of new boilers and air compressors, and upgrades to our fleet on Oahu and the Neighbor Islands.
Our long-term strategic distribution plan is aimed at substantially reducing distribution expenses to the Neighbor Islands. In fact, our recent use of the Hawaii Superferry and Aloha Cargo has contributed to the improved efficiency and reduction of distribution expenses.
Love’s produces more than half a million pounds of baked products each week for distribution to grocery stores, military bases, restaurants, schools and hospitals across the Islands. Love’s remains the only large commercial, “high speed” bakery producing freshly baked bread in Hawaii. Without our products, most bread in local grocery stores would consist of frozen bread.
We proudly operate our bakery facility on Oahu, we will continue branch operations on Kauai, Maui, the Big Island (Hilo and Kona) and Molokai, as well as maintain nine thrift store outlets throughout the state.
It’s a statewide operation that we take great pride in. But the thing that we are most proud of is our unbroken commitment and legacy to these Islands and the professionalism of each and every one of our employees.
With the public’s continued support, we look forward to another 150 years of strong and responsible operation and service to the people of Hawaii.
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