Local owners to acquire Love's Bakery in Hawaii

by Eric Schroeder
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HONOLULU — A group of Hawaii managers led by Mike Walters has agreed to purchase Daiichiya-Love’s Bakery in Honolulu from Japan-based First Baking Company, Ltd. The transaction is expected to be finalized in 60 days.

Mr. Walters, currently president and chief executive officer of Daiichiya-Love’s Bakery, will acquire a majority stake in the company, whose name will revert back to Love’s Bakery Inc.

In addition to Mr. Walters, investors include Byron Chong, vice-president and director of sales and marketing; Alan Yamada, director of administration; and Jean Hagi, director of human resources. Other local managers and Hawaii executives who helped put the purchase plan in place included Warren Luke, chairman and c.e.o. of Hawaii National Bank; Senator Daniel Inouye; Guy Fujimura, ILWU Local 142 union secretary and treasurer; and Richard Botti, president of the Hawaii Food Industry Association.

Founded in 1851, Love’s Bakery sells fresh bread, rolls and sweet goods under the Love’s, Roman Meal and Milton’s brands. The company, which has annual sales of about $37 million, also supplies private label bakery brands for many of Hawaii’s grocery stores. It is the only large commercial high-speed bakery producing fresh baked bread in Hawaii. The company’s bakery facility is located on Oahu and has branch operations on the islands of Kauai, Maui, the Big Island, and Molokai.

Love’s Bakery was locally owned and operated from 1851 to 1968, and for the past 27 years has been owned by First Baking Company, Ltd., which acquired the company in December 1981 from ITT Continental Baking Co.

Mr. Walters was first given the option to acquire sole ownership in the company this past May, but he opted to offer his managers a minority stake in the business instead.

Mr. Walters said the new ownership plans to implement various efficiency measures and capital investments, including the addition of new boilers and air compressors. Long term, Mr. Walters said the company hopes to substantially reduce distribution expenses to neighboring islands.

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