TORRANCE, CALIF. — Mark Taira, chief executive officer of King’s Hawaiian, and shareholders believe that investing in King’s Hawaiian operations is an integral part of their plan for the future. For this company, the short term explores what the business can do during the next one to three years, but the long term extends five years and beyond.
“The Taira family and Mark have not shrunk away from appropriate investment in the business,” observed John Linehan, executive vice-president. “We’re very willing to invest in the company to make more money this year and years from now. We’re conservative about investing but very aggressive in building the business for the long run.”
For its recent expansion at Oakwood, Ga., King’s Hawaiian secured $130 million in financing from GE Capital, Corporate Finance, Norwalk, Conn. Some observers may see that as a big bet for a company with some $300 million in annual revenue. However, Mr. Taira perceives it differently.
Throughout its history, the company has made similar large investments in operations, including the Torrance bakery built in 2003 to bolster capacity to its original 1977-vintage Southern California facility.
“When any business looks at growth, there is always risk,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how you manage that risk. If you look at the history of our company, we’re not big risk-takers. We take risk appropriately for our growth. As I look at things, it’s always about the long term.”
Family-run, privately held King’s Hawaiian doesn’t need to stare at the calendar to see if it’s making its revenue and profit goals for the quarter.“I’m second generation, but we have third and fourth generation who could grow up in the business,” Mr. Taira said. “My work today is to lay the foundation for the future. It’s different than saying, ‘I’m going to be retiring in 10 years. That’s all I’m looking for.’ I’m building an organization that the next generation will continue to operate and run.”