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Honolulu among top 10 income growth markets

By Erika Engle


Caution: Contents of this column may cause the rapid transfer of a beverage from mouth to newspaper or computer screen.

Honolulu is among the top 10 U.S. markets for income growth, according to a new study by (Hope you had a napkin or screen cleaner at the ready.) The "Uncovered" study by the site for small- and midsize businesses reviewed the top 100 U.S. markets, analyzed 25 years of federal income data and other statistics ending with 2009 figures.

"Most people are interested in knowing what cities have the highest per capita income, but that doesn't always reflect the areas with the most available opportunities," said G. Scott Thomas, a demographer who participated in the study, in a statement.

"The highest income growth rankings are designed to give the people an alternative view on what constitutes a flourishing economy and maybe even the chance for a fresh start."

The top nine markets were El Paso, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Baltimore; Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Va., and New Orleans; Pittsburgh; Oklahoma City; Little Rock, Ark.; and Jackson, Miss., at No. 9. Larger metros were way down the list, with New York City at 35, Los Angeles at 54 and Chicago at 73.

Meanwhile, the bottom three -- No. 98, Raleigh, N.C.; No. 99, Detroit; and No. 100, Atlanta -- have been badly hurt by declining real estate prices and erosion of the manufacturing industry, reported.

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Dozens of local businesses got a 101 course on doing business with the Walt Disney Co. at identical workshops staged yesterday by Latin Business Hawaii and Hawaii Hispanic News at Executive Centre. Twenty-five people attended the morning session, with another 37 registered for the afternoon event.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will open at Ko Olina next year and Disney is looking for dozens, perhaps hundreds, of companies locally and elsewhere with which to do business -- and has a team dedicated to making deals with certified women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

"Once you are certified, you have the full support of the supplier diversity team," said DeLynne Ano, director of supplier diversity and development. "They come to work every single day to find qualified suppliers that can do business with Walt Disney." The team also "routinely hold(s) networking events to introduce diverse companies to ... decision-makers" at Fortune 500 companies, she said.

Attendees of the workshops got several minutes of potentially profitable, nearly one-on-one face time with Disney execs during breakout sessions. Certified businesses can register in the Disney database online, a process that will also require verification of certification.

An attendee asked if there were a "magic list" of products and services Disney presently needs. Voila, a cornucopia of opportunities burst forth on the screen, a recent version of the ever-changing list. Disney's wide range of needs includes office equipment, horticultural services, lei, garment rentals including tuxedos and wedding dresses, cosmetology services, musicians, photographers and videographers, banquet rentals, child care, parking lot sweeping and a multitude of other cleaning services, to name several.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at

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