© 2023 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Localizing National Brands

Flickr / mmmavocado
Flickr / mmmavocado

Big brand names from the mainland are familiar in Hawai‘i—from McDonald's to Wal-Mart. But many of them also localize some of their operations in ways that stretch from business to business commerce to charitable giving. We get more from Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier.


It’s not a surprise to you that McDonald's in Hawaii offers menu items like Saimin, or local style breakfast platters heaping with spam. But you may not know that offering such options has McDonald's working with a wide range of locally owned suppliers. Only-in-Hawaii menu items come from Pacific Sausage, Okahara Saimin Factory, Mari’s Garden in Mililani, Meadow Gold and Hawaii Coffee. Between its franchise location and its network of local suppliers, McDonalds accounts for more than 14,000 jobs. McDonalds in Hawaii tells PBN that 43 cents of every dollar spent their returns to the local economy.


At Walmart, an office of 20 full-time staff is focused solely on stocking the store with locally produced items. The company spends more than $219 million annually in Hawaii for locally produced products, as well as on services it contracts out. Its supplier network alone supports close to 10,000 jobs.


One example of what this looks like: Local footwear company Scott Hawaii has partnerships to sell rubber slippers in Walmart, Target and Longs. These partnerships now generate 40 percent of the company’s sales, moving about 200,000 pairs of footwear every year.


All the Mainland-owned chains get involved in charitable giving, too. Longs Drugstore, owned by CVS, naturally focuses on healthcare, donating more than half a million dollars work of grants, products and volunteer time to local health organization. The Walmart Foundation, representing both the Walmart and Sam’s Club brands, casts a wider net, donating $1.7 million in cash or in-kind contributions to such groups as the Maui Food Bank and the Salvation Army.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
Related Stories