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Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (WTAAC)

Success Stories

Coffee Grower and Processor

The company is Hawaii’s largest coffee grower, with 3,400-acres under cultivation.. Founded in 1988, the company’s growth is based upon the growing, processing and selling of high-grade 100% Arabica coffee to commercial and consumer customers worldwide.

The company has invested in all aspects of coffee growing and processing to be at the leading edge of coffee production technology. However, over the24 month period ending Dec. 31, 2000, low cost foreign imports increased 15.8%, while world unit price dropped 40.8%. As a result, in 2000, the company lost sales to low cost Costa Rica and Columbia imports. Coffee production decreased 44.9% and employment downsized 7.8% to 166.

The company, with assistance from the University of Southern California’s Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (Western TAAC) became certified as trade impacted by the US Dept. of Commerce, Economic Development Administration in April of 2001.

Western TAAC and the company's management developed a strategy to be the premier producer of 100% Hawaiian grown coffee products through the utilization of modern technology, innovative thinking, and skilled employees. This strategy focuses on establish itself as a low cost coffee producer, while capitalizing on opportunities to improve profitability by developing and expanding value-added products.

Four years after beginning participation in the Implementation phase of the TAA Program for Firms, the company, with Western TAAC assistance successfully implemented 7 production engineering projects related to expanding its roasted coffee program, and improving crop management. They also completed phase 1 of its information system projects to enhance its internet based worldwide sales, and phase 1 of its marketing, sales and promotion project to expand its retail roasted coffee sales. Since beginning its public/private sector partnership working relationship with the TAA for Firms Program, sales increased 13% to $10M and productivity increased 176% to $147,059 sales per employee.

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