Hilo Hattie files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Ted Nelson
Ted Nelson
Brian Harvey
Brian Harvey

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

NIMITZ (KHNL) - Hilo Hattie, one of our state's largest local retailers, files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Thursday.

Nearly $23-million in debt, the company says now is the time to take action to stay alive.

For more than 40 years, it's an aloha welcome at Hilo Hattie. But this local Hawaii business is the latest to suffer a blow from the fists of our country's financial crisis.

"It's good news what's going on today," said Ted Nelson, Hilo Hattie's chief executive officer.

Company officials are taking comfort in filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. They're now focused on the future.

"We felt it was time to reorganize and focus on our number one initiative which is migrating from Nimitz here to Waikiki," said Nelson.

With tourists its largest percentage of customers, the company will make the move to Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian Shopping center in 2009.

Brian Harvey, a longtime dedicated customer since the seventies doesn't mind the decision.

"It's sad to see the store closing but if they find a new location and it's still open somewhere, it's good enough for me," said Brian Harvey, a visitor from Vancouver.

With obstacles like high oil prices, a weak economy and low tourism numbers, Hilo Hattie is hopeful bankruptcy will play in its favor.

"It was designed to help companies just like ours that have a good future and a good plan and need a stabile environment to execute those plans," said Nelson.

More than 250 of the company's workers in nine stores in Hawaii and the mainland are secure. Officials say right now the key is making progress.