Talking Story with Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mel Tanioka
Mel Tanioka, president and chief executive officer of Tanioka’s Fish Market, Inc. dba Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering, shares some of the ideas and inspiration behind his renowned, local, family-run business.
Congratulations on being recognized as the 2013 Pacific Edge Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award winner. What impact has winning this award had on your business?
It was an unexpected honor to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from Pacific Edge Magazine, which will be cherished for a lifetime.
Needless to say, the award not only recognized myself but my family, friends and employees who also sacrificed long hours of dedicated hard work.The award truly exposed Tanioka’s high end catering which enhanced our catering department [exposure]. We are now very competitive in wedding catering and hope to increase our sales to become one of the leaders in the industry!
Since receiving this recognition, what are some new initiatives you have undertaken with your business?
As mentioned, catering has become a major factor in our future with dedicated efforts in our quality and service. Our online store is about to embark which will service our many college students on the mainland.
Social media has also become a creative tool to provide exposure for our company and technical team, and will surely keep us connected with customers. Advertising with Pacific Edge Magazine and other resources will keep Tanioka’s exposed island-wide and beyond. We have many catering inquiries from the mainland through advertising with PEM and other advertising media.
What drives you to “do what you do”?
The challenge to offer the best service and products to our customers is what generates the energy to continue our goals. It’s been a blessed, glorious 36 years and we hope that our children will continue to have the motivation to succeed another 30 years. Our third generation grandson has aspirations of taking over so we are very committed to assist the next two generation in every way possible.
Being responsible for over 100 employees also drives our family a to make a long-term commitment to provide employment with a safe and cheerful environment.
How has being a family-run business contributed to your success?
As mentioned in accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award, it wouldn’t have been the same without my “lifetime” partner and wife who has shared every experience that challenged our path in achieving our goals. Having a partner who has the same values and commitment really makes a difference in succeeding.
We have now two wonderful children who oversee the operation with the same values and dedication in operating the business and serving the community.
Factors responsible for the longevity of your business?
Trusting in the Lord and following Christian values has certainly been our guide and will continue to be a part of our vision.
“Quality Foods with a Friendly Smile” is our axiom which has been proven for 36 years! The best seafood, best catering products and having our employees provide the best service to our customers contributes to our longevity.
“Giving back” to support our community, our favorite Kapiolani Children’s Hospital, churches, and other organizations has been our sincere concern and created a Charity Foundation to support the overwhelming request.
What are some goals for Tanioka’s that you hope to achieve or children to achieve in the coming years?
One of our goals is to provide competitive wages and benefits for our employees who have worked diligently throughout the years. Many have worked for over 20 years and are well deserved in sharing our success.
Increasing retirement programs, vacation, medical benefits, company functions and providing a professional management staff are areas we hope to accomplish.
Supporting Kapiolani Medical Center and other health institutions will be our primary goal by fundraising which will be an investment for generations to come. We are also committed to many organizations who share common goals to support, improve and invest in our future.
We are currently investing in solar energy, waste management and other environmental friendly programs which many are doing to navigate our islands to achieve a sustainable future for Hawaii.
We would again like to take this opportunity to thank Pacific Edge Magazine for their recognition.