Small businesses make big splash

John Steinhorst, reporter, can be reached at 245-0435 or

LIHUE — Kauai’s small business owners are making a difference in the island’s economy.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced the 2018 SBA Small Business Awards to recognize two remarkable entrepreneurs from the Garden Isle.

One of them is Maris Isabel Manzano, owner of Verde Restaurant, who was awarded Small Business Person of the Year for the County of Kauai.

Another hardworking individual to be recognized by the national organization is James Mayfield, president of Island Business and Commercial Brokerage, who was awarded Small Business Advocate for Financial Services for the state of Hawaii. His banking career spans two decades on Kauai.

“This Small Business Person of the Year award represents every hardworking and dedicated Verde employee, other local businesses, farmers and owners, who have grown with Verde the past 10 years, willing to expand and to adapt, allowing us to practice sustainability,” said Manzano.

Verde Restaurant has been in operation for 10 years with two locations, in Kapaa and Lihue. The restaurant also creates its own salsa production as well to distributors such as Costco and Safeway in Lihue, Safeway and Foodland in Kapaa, and Foodland in Princeville.

“Running a restaurant takes a village, not a single person,” Manzano said.

The restaurant employs a total of about 80 part-time and full-time employees.

“Verde’s operation focuses on ‘who,’” Manzano said. “Who harvested those salad greens this morning? Who chopped those onions in the kitchen? Who mixed that special drink? Who plated those tacos?”

“Our goal is to put a face to the Verde brand and to create awareness that while you’re finishing up your burrito, you have just supported a hardworking Kauai farmer and a Verde staff and his/her family,” she said.

Mayfield has served as president of Kauai United Way and Rotary Club of Kauai, vice president and business banking manager for Bank of Hawaii, as well as treasurer for Lihue Lutheran Church, Kauai Food Bank, Kauai Board of Realtors and Contractors Association of Kauai.

He also served as director and committee chair of the Finance and Audit committee for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, and held director positions for Wilcox Hospital Finance and Audit Committee, Hawaii Hotel Association of Kauai, Island School and Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau Kauai Chapter.

Mayfield has been awarded gold and silver six times by the Small Business Administration for approved loan production. He is most proud of his role as founding member of KIUC, finding funding for creation of the co-op and founding its board of directors.

The Kauai Chamber of Commerce congratulated these two outstanding individuals at the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Business After Hours on Thursday.

The Hawaii SBA District Office also selected Reginald Perry, managing member of Barbers Point Aviation Services, as the 2018 Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Hawaii. Perry was invited to represent Hawaii in Washington, D.C., at the National Small Business Week ceremonies later this month.

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