Hurricane Lane's economic impact on island businesses
Hurricane Lane did not make landfall in Hawaii, but still had a major economic impact on the state, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue and wages to island workers and companies.
Hurricane Lane did not make landfall in Hawaii, but still had a major economic impact on the state.
Costing millions of dollars in lost revenue and wages to island workers and companies.
During this close call, Hurricane Lane made a direct hit on the businesses bottom line.
As the "Big Olive" at Island Olive Oil Company, Brian Foster is almost fanatical about the flavors of his products, and readily sharing them with customers who come into his stores.
But getting more people to stop by his Ward Centre location to sample varieties of oils or balsamic vinegar can be a challenge.
"Most of our customers are repeat customers, but we can't live off that alone. We need the additional foot traffic. We need people out there shopping, looking for our products and coming into our store.Everything affects our bottom line," said Foster.
Including Hurricane Lane, even though it stayed offshore with its wind and rain impact minimal on Oahu.
The approaching storm forced malls, individual shops and thousands of stores to shut down for two or three days.
The closure of ports and transportation businesses added to an overall drop in sales.
"Because of the shipyards, I had a couple of pallets pushed back until Monday. So we couldn't fulfill some of our wholesale orders we had," stated Foster.
Some businesses, including hardware stores and grocery chains saw a brief boost as residents prepared for Lane. But many others saw sales slump from the storm.
"It had an impact on everybody. Lets face it, when you close a shopping mall for a couple of days, and Friday, Saturday, Sunday are your busy days - your revenue is going to go down," said Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii President.
Revenue from retail, including shops, stores and restaurants adds up to $19 million per day, on average, for Hawaii.
Tourism generates even more: an estimated $51 million per day.
While visitor activities and attractions were closed as Lane approached, the head of Hawaii's Tourism Authority said the storm didn't do any lasting damage to the view of Hawaii as a safe tourism destination.
"On Maui, we did have some airlines cancel flights, but I'm not hearing from hotels about any major cancellation to date," said George Szigeti, the Hawaii Tourism Authority President.
The storm will cost Hawaii workers lost wages. Not just the thousands of retail workers, or those in the tourism industry, but also the countless other workers idled by the storm.
Except for the tens of thousands of state and county workers who were put on paid administrative leave.
Hawaii's government will pick up the tab for that, paying out between an estimated $5-10 million for Lane's close call.