A World Of Fun For Everyone

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - February 01, 2006
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Ryan Kusumoto and Michelle Onomura Kakazu enjoy their work at Planet Fun
Ryan Kusumoto and Michelle Onomura
Kakazu enjoy their work at Planet Fun

For co-owners Michelle Onomura Kakazu and Ryan Kusumoto, it’s all about fun, fun, fun - and they hope to open another Planet Fun this year.

Onomura Kakazu, a mother of two, says kids today have more sophisticated tastes.

“They pick their own video games, they pick their own clothes, they pick their own music,” she says. “This is a place that allows them to express themselves, a place that’s safe and good for the whole family.”

Their 4,000-square-foot Kunia arcade and karaoke restaurant caters to families. Tastebuds can be satisfied with pizza, salads, sandwiches and soups. There’s a variety of sweets, too. Planet Fun features a stage with a dressing room and wardrobe that includes hats, wigs and feather boas. It’s no wonder that the stage is a part of the activities, as Onomura Kakazu was chosen to be in Hawaii Stars in the early 1990s. The 1987 Waiakea High School graduate says what she likes best is to see the smile on the kids’ faces, and to get their attention.

“I lecture like the crazy mother,” she explains. “I get to talk to them and reach them. I believe that if you’re good to people, and love the children, your business will do well. The word will get around.”

Her two daughters, Ashley, 9, and Audrey, 7, are in the exact market she’s trying to reach - “tweens”

- elementary school and high school students who want to be teenagers.

Co-owner Kusumoto says one recent party held at Planet Fun was especially sentimental. For a 10th birthday, a party-goer who hadn’t seen a family member in a long time got up on stage and sang a song from the heart to say how much she missed them.

“It brought the whole room to tears,” notes Kusumoto, a 1993 Iolani grad with two children, Madison, 3, and Marissa, 2.

Both Onomura Kakazu and Kusumoto came from the corporate world before opening this venue on Thanksgiving weekend last year. They worked at Hawaii Pacific Health, the parent company of Kapiolani Medical Center, Straub Clinic and Wilcox Memorial. She was the vice president of finance and he was a manager.

Kusumoto notes the change of pace as a business owner.

“We wear all these different hats,” he explains.

With 22 employees who are college age, the owners have a goal to provide advice and training to help their workers know what values are necessary in the work force. She’s teaching her workers to be organized, responsible and to think ahead.

Onomura Kakazu’s lessons include “Don’t quit when the going gets tough. Go the extra mile, team spirit, humility, and take pride in the work that you do.”

Also taking pride in the finished product is Kusumoto’s wife, Erin, who helped to create the educational aspect of the operation. Schools take field trips to Planet Fun and learn about space missions to Mars, or they can learn from a career day experience by observing the action in the restaurant from 9 to 11 a.m., which includes lunch. Onomura Kakazu’s husband, Al, advises the group while her sister, Tammy Burks, handles party reservations, human resources, office work and designed the logos and the characters. Onomura Kakazu is in charge of accounting and leases. Kusumoto handles the food and beverage side as well as ordering and installing equipment.

The arcade and karaoke restaurant are available for fundraisers on Sunday evenings.

Planet Fun is located at 94-673 Kupuohi St. in Kunia Shopping Center. The hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Sunday. For more information, call 585-PFUN or log onto www.planetfunusa.com

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