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Business briefs

For Tuesday, April 19, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff


Blockbuster reprieved

NEW YORK >> Blockbuster’s soon-to-be parent company Dish Network Corp. has agreed to take on leases for hundreds of Blockbuster stores, ensuring the video rental chain will continue to have a physical presence. Dish filed papers with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York on Saturday indicating it has agreed to assume about 500 leases. Blockbuster has closed numerous stores and now operates about 1,700 stores across the U.S.

Medical building gets 5 tenants

The owner of a new medical office building at the corner of Beretania and Keeaumoku streets announced that it now has five tenants.

Since the nine-story Hale Pawaa complex was completed late last year, three tenants have opened for business. The first was Fertility Institute of Hawaii in February, followed by Mina Pharmacy and Pulelehua Skin Care Aesthetics last month.

Healthcare Realty, the owner and developer of the building, said it has landed two more tenants — Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii, which is slated to open in May, and dentist Michael Uyehara, who expects to open a family dentistry practice this summer.

Electric car charging stations to debut

The Sheraton Waikiki plans to unveil today the initial phase of the state's first network of electric vehicle charging stations.

The five charge spots in the Sheraton parking garage, capable of accommodating two cars each, were installed by Better Place, a California-based operator of electric car networks. The Sheraton installation is part of a project involving Better Place, Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture.

Sheraton initially plans to use the charging station for two electric vehicles it has purchased to be used as guest shuttles. Better Place will monitor the usage as part of a pilot project before the charging station is opened up to hotel guests.

Better Place plans to install five more charge spots at HECO facilities as part of the project first announced last fall.

The Better Place model for charging stations requires users to sign up for an account that features a swipe card with a radio frequency identification tag that allows the company to keep track of who is using its system and how much electricity they're using.

Hawaiian pilots raise $14,000 for Japan

Hawaiian Airlines pilots and their union have donated more than $14,000 to victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunamis. The Air Line Pilots Association said yesterday that Hawaiian pilots donated $9,500 and the union contributed an additional $5,000. A check was presented to the Hawaii chapter of the Red Cross.

Hawaiian Airlines Capt. Rick Baldwin, who organized the fundraising effort in two weeks, says many at the airline have ties to Japan. The pilots had previously donated $15,000 in 2009 for typhoon victims in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Gannett's paper woes hurt profits

A prolonged slide in Gannett Co.'s newspaper business overshadowed improvements in the company's broadcast and online operations as the publisher of USA Today reported a sharp drop in first-quarter earnings.

The results released yesterday marked the 17th straight quarter in which Gannett's publishing division has brought in less revenue than the previous year.

Most other major newspaper publishers also have been struggling during the same stretch, which included the longest U.S. recession since World War II.

With the economy slowly recovering, newspapers are still trying to adapt to a marketing shift that has driven advertisers from print to less expensive and more abundant alternatives on the Internet.

Digital revenue from newspaper websites and other businesses grew 12 percent, but that wasn't enough to offset a 7 percent drop in newspaper advertising revenue, the bulk of which still comes from print. Net income fell 23 percent.

Gannett earned $90.5 million, or 37 cents a share, in the three months ended March 27. Net income was $117 million, or 49 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $1.25 billion from $1.3 billion.

On the Move

Kualoa has hired Micah Castro as sales and marketing assistant. He will provide support and assistance at westbound sales and military markets as well as special events, marketing initiatives, ranch exhibitions and promotions. Before Kualoa, Castro was a guest services marketing coordinator at Hilton Grand Vacations Club.


Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii has named Jamie Barut as its new director of charter operations. She has more than 30 years of hospitality experience.


Prudential Locations has hired five new real estate agents who came from Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties:

>> Cy Carnate has experience that includes serving as an intermediate school teacher and curriculum coordinator.

>> Francine Felix has a background that includes 25 years of customer service experience.

>> Jennifer Harada entered the real estate business in 2003 and worked in the retail industry.

>> Hazel Unciano has more than seven years of real estate experience and has also worked in retail management.

>> Michelle Valera became a real estate agent in 2008 after teaching elementary school and operating her own business. 

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