I noted with interest that ownership of bankrupt Hawaiian clothing retailer Hilo Hattie has transferred today to Royal Hawaiian Creations. While I’ve never heard of Royal Hawaiian, their half-working website indicates that they manufacture and wholesale Hawaiian wear. They are Honolulu-based, and previously owned two Waikiki stores that apparently closed last year.
News reports indicate that Royal Hawaiian, which was the store’s second largest creditor in bankruptcy, plans to convert the Hilo Hattie Nimitz Highway location to manufacturing. At the same time, however, their remains a “for lease” sign on that property.
We’re happy to see this last chance for the Kauai-founded Hawaiiana clothing legend, and this is indeed great news for the 200 Hawaii employees of Hilo Hattie. When I last wrote about them in April, it appeared that dissolution was the only likely outcome of the bankruptcy.
I’m hopeful that the new owners can overcome the plethora of problems that plagued Hilo Hattie in recent times, including:
- Prior focus on foreign vs. Hawaii-made merchandise
- Ongoing difficult credit markets
- High cost of Hawaii-based manufacturing
- Multiple failed expansion and reorganization attempts