Employees React To Layoffs at Molokai Ranch

William Aki
William Aki
Butch Tabanao
Butch Tabanao

MOLOKAI (KHNL) -- One day after the announcement that Molokai Ranch is closing, the company says, resistance from residents over their master plan to build a luxury subdivision is to blame.

More than 100 employees will be layed off by the end of the month.

The company plans to close everything from the Kaluakoi golf course to the Maunaloa gas station to the Town Cinemas.

For many employees affected by the Molokai Ranch closure, the future is uncertain.

"Not really sure. I'll put in applications for more stuff, and hope for the best," said Molokai resident Bleu Bulfer.

Not all those expecting to be layed off are as concerned. But they are no less sympathetic to how the closure has affected others. William Aki is a retired, part time musician at the Lodge at Molokai Ranch.

"For us, it's not too bad, but what about the people that depend on working at the lodge. That's big money if you're looking at an 8-hours a day," said Aki.

Butch Tabano is a jewelry designer working out of a buliding leased by Molokai Ranch. He's waiting for his notice to shut down. Inspite of this huge set back the whole island is facing, he believes the Friendly Isle will eventually bounce back.

"Molokai will always come back. It might be hard for a while, but Molokai always comes back. The people are real strong over here," said Tabanao.

Karen Holt of the Molokai Community Service Council says, they have been planning for a closure since 1998. She believes the closure will unite the community.

"Now that the ranch has decided to shut it down, I think we have tremendous opportunities to chart our own course," said Holt.

It's the end of a five-year battle marking a new beginning for the people on the Friendly Isle.

Karen Holt says she is working to purchase the property which has a price tag of $200 million.

So far, they've raised about $50 million.