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Our Brand New Boat Shop and Maintenance Facility

Kauai boat builders

Gosh friends, we have to say– 2022 has been a very exciting year for our company Holo Holo Charters. First, we became the first tour boat company in the state of Hawaii to invest in cutting-edge, energy-saving diesel outboard motor technology. Then, we were named the #1 Best Boat Tour in America by USA Today 10Best Choice Awards. And now, we’re downright giddy to announce the completion of our brand new, state-of-the-art boat shop and maintenance facility!

This new shop is literally a dream come true, and a total game-changer for Holo Holo Charters. In this blog post we’re going to cover two things:

  1. How having a shop designed specifically for our needs will majorly increase our efficiency and help us better serve our customers
  2. How we celebrated this momentous occasion!

Our Very Own Shop

Our company was founded in 1997 by professional boat builder Kevin Millett, and all four of our Kauai tour boats were proudly designed and built by Kevin himself with help from various teams of people. Kevin’s worked in some very challenging and awkward spaces over the years. For example, our flagship vessel Holo Holo was built here on Kauai’s south shore at the old Lawai Pineapple Cannery– a hot, dark, and dusty old space with inadequate power supply, water supply, and lighting. Not ideal!

The shop we’ve been leasing for the last ten+ years isn’t the worst shop in the world, it’s just small—particularly the door. In fact, the door is too small for either of our two big catamarans to fit through, meaning that our annual haul-outs and maintenance projects have always happened outside, and progress was always made at the mercy of Kauai’s unpredictable weather patterns. Again, not ideal.

Imagine you’ve spent the last three days taping and painting a boat under the blazing Kauai sun, and you’ve finally finished the job. You’re feeling great as you’re rinsing off your paint rollers, but then you look up and see darkness in the sky. Raindrops start to fall, and a passing twenty-minute squall destroys all the work you’ve done. Now the tears are falling too as you begin to realize that you have to start all over. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Rainbows are no consolation at that point. Now imagine that happening two or three times in a row. It’s a maddening waste of time and materials.

Kauai made boats

Kevin, Adrian (company co-owner and head of our maintenance department), and our guys and gals have always somehow made it work, but also always dreamed of how nice it would be to have a proper facility to work in. Now, that dream is a reality!

In 2019, the stars aligned, and we were able to purchase a one-acre plot of land in Port Allen, Kauai, just down the street from our company office and existing shop facility. The future was uncertain during the Covid-19 pandemic, but we stayed the course and kept moving forward with the new building. Construction began in June 2021 and now, one year later, we’ve been granted the Occupancy Certificate from the County of Kauai. We’re in!

The metal building is 90’ x 90’ or 8,000 square feet of bright, clean, glorious shop space to bask in. That’s more than three times the size of the shop we’ve been working in! It features a massive, power-lift tilt-up door that YES– our big catamarans can fit through and has the added benefit of creating a sizeable shaded outside area when it’s open. The shop is outfitted with bright, efficient LED lighting, has excellent ventilation, and is very well insulated to stay cool in our tropical climate.

The next time there’s a serious hurricane heading towards Kauai, we’ll stuff all four of our tour boats into the shop and have faith knowing the building was engineered to withstand 150 miles per hour sustained wind.

Goodbye toiling in the scorching sun and crying in the rain. Goodbye wasted materials. Goodbye leasing other people’s shop space. And goodbye having to cancel tours because the boats aren’t ready.

Hello, working efficiently, out of the elements. Hello, saving precious time and money being able to stick to our maintenance schedule regardless of the weather. Hello, protecting our assets in the case of a hurricane. Hello, investing in ourselves. And hello to spending more time on the water creating incredible memories for our guests!

The new shop space is such a significant game-changer in the life of our company, we knew we had to celebrate in style. And that we did…


Traditional Pi Kai Ceremony and the “Shop Hop”

Saturday, June 25, 2022 was the day to reveal our new space to the world and to fill it for the first time with lots of good vibes.

In the morning, a small group of Holo Holo executives and members of the maintenance team met at the shop for a traditional Pi Kai Ceremony led by one of Kauai’s most prominent Native Hawaiian female leaders, Sabra Kauka, of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation.

To begin the ceremony, conch shells and bamboo rods were blown four times—to the north, east, south, and west directions– and Sabra sang a traditional Kauaian chant. We talked about the history of the company and why the new space is so meaningful. Sabra put some alaea salt from Salt Pond into a wooden bowl and our company founder Kevin poured fresh Nawiliwili spring water from a calabash over the salt. From there, Sabra took a bundle of ti leaves that had been folded in a particular way and used them to sprinkle the salt water all around the shop, inside and outside.

The pi kai ritual, the sprinkling of salt water, is to purify the space and to protect it and its inhabitants from harmful energies. Sure, it may sound a little “woo woo” to some, but Sabra is lovely, and it was nice to spend some time reflecting on our company’s role as an employer (and now a landowner) in being good stewards of the land and water and in helping to perpetuate Kauai’s unique cultural traditions.

Sabra closed the ceremony with another beautiful chant and that’s when we noticed another thing too—great acoustics in the shop!

It was a wonderful way to start the day, and the perfect precursor to the festivities that were to follow.

roller skate Kauai

That afternoon, about 160 of our Holo Holo employees and friends of the company came over for the “Holo Holo Shop Hop”—a family-friendly, 1950s-themed celebration and “shop warming” event.

You should have seen this party—NO detail was overlooked! Our Human Resources Administrator Shannon Daliva is a creative, imaginative, and talented party planner and if you give her a theme, she’ll run with it! She enlisted our accountant Chrystie Vasquez and the two of them planned and executed a party for the ages.

We had:

  • Four food trucks
  • Roller-skating rink
  • Rock-climbing wall
  • Bouncy house
  • Inflatable “Toxic Meltdown” game
  • Lounge area with Grease playing on the big screen
  • An O.B.’s Diner photo-op area
  • Make-your-own Italian soda bar
  • 21+ bar with specialty cocktails
  • Candy bar
  • Four-piece band
  • Two muscle cars
  • Commemorative stickers
  • A raffle
  • And more!

The entire shop was decked out 1950’s greaser style and every direction you turned there were people eating, laughing, playing, and filling the new space with aloha.

Hawaiian boat builders

Shannon and Chrystie, you really outdid yourselves on this party— how will we ever top that!?

Wowsa, what a weekend! Between the pi kai blessing and the amazing Shop Hop, it feels like we properly broke in our new boat maintenance shop. Now that all the sprinkles and streamers are swept off the floor, our Holo Holo Maintenance Department will start the process of moving all of our tools and inventory out of the old and into the new and drastically improved!

Right away, this new shop will help us in our mission to maintain the safest fleet of tour boats on Kauai and thus, more reliably serve our customers.

And now that we have the state-of-the-art shop— is a whole new boat in order?!?!?!

Hmmmm, we shall see what the future holds for Holo Holo Charters!





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