If you’ve spent any significant time living in or visiting the islands, or just have a fond interest in the history of Hawaii’s businesses and people who drive it, The Companies We Keep is one book you MUST read. Or even better yet, own and kept on your coffee table or office desk as a conversation piece.
In print since 2004, this book is jam-packed from cover to cover with absolutely fascinating stories and facts about the history of Hawaii’s best known companies, from past to present. From hole-in-the-wall mom & pop shops to big corporations. Retail, restaurants, hospitality, media, entertainment, education and more. As told by the founders, their heirs, family, friends and those who work in their respective industry, through research by author Bob Sigall and his students at Hawaii Pacific University.
Did you ever wonder…
• Why did they name it Zippy’s?
• Why does Lex Brodie say “thank you very much”?
• Who is Robert’s Hawaii’s Rabbit logo waving to?
The answer to these questions, and many, many more can all be found here.
Following introductions, a “Hawaii Business Timeline” chapter starts things off….
Next is a chapter on “The Meaning of 260 Hawaii Company Names”, where you’ll learn exactly why it’s called “Zippy’s”, “Town & Country” Surf Shop and “W&M” Bar-B-Q Burgers.
The following chapter, titled “Extraordinary Hawaii Companies” makes up the thick of the book and goes further into detail behind the history of companies such as ABC Stores, City Mill, C.S. Wo, Charlie’s Taxi, E.K. Fernandez, KC Drive Inn, Spenceliff restaurants and Victoria Ward, just to name a few.
The remaining chapters cover Hawaii’s TV & Radio industry, Schools & Universities, concluding with games, lists & quizzes (and resources, credits & index, of course).
Here’s a quick, selective photographic “tour” of what you’ll find throughout the pages…
Here’s the Author, Bob Sigall…
The book is easy to read, encouraging you to thumb through it in search (or simply refer to the index) of a specific business of interest, and is well-written, edited and categorized. While the photography included on just about every page is a huge plus! I might even go on the limb and suggest Bob come out with a full color, glossy hard cover pictorial edition of The Companies We Keep!
There might possibly be a few bits of information here and there that you may find aren’t completely accurate based on the best of your knowledge of a particular establishment, but for the most part, it seems everyone “did their homework” and researched enough to get the facts in CWK straight. Besides, sometimes not even a business founder’s own children may know the “whole” story!
Bob was so kind to hand deliver an autographed copy of his second book to me and my boss at our office recently. He also gave me full permission to photograph and use content (including the beautiful cover shot, which he emailed to me) for this review. Mahalo, Bob!
With over 400 pages of fascinating information about 450 of Hawaii’s best known companies spanning the past century, all rolled into one handy book, The Companies We Keep is both enlightening and entertaining, and will be an invaluable resource in your library for years and generations to come. A must-have.
The perfect coffee table conversation piece!
The Companies We Keep
Amazing Stories About 450 of Hawaii’s Best Known Businesses
By Bob Sigall and his students at Hawaii Pacific University
Also available at all Hawaii Borders, Barnes & Noble, Bookends, Bestsellers, Helena’s Hawaiian Food, Boulevard Saimin, Gyotaku, Hungry Lion, Highway Inn, and Flamingo Pearl City.
The Tasty Island rating:
(5) Superb. A must-have!
• Reader’s Corner: The Companies We Keep 2
In a follow-up installment coming soon, I’ll review The Companies We Keep 2!…