City Mill Company, Ltd. Honolulu, Hawaii
City Mill Company, Ltd.
“Google helps us better understand our customers, identify what they are looking for, and determine the best way that we can help them.”Carol Ai May, Vice PresidentCity Mill Company, Ltd. has 500 employees.link www.citymill.comChinese immigrant Chung Kun Ai founded City Mill as a lumber-importing and rice-milling business in Honolulu in 1899. Despite troubles and setbacks over the decades, the enterprise grew and expanded into other areas, including pineapple, laundry, fishing, tobacco, and oil drilling. City Mill eventually became Hawaii’s leading supplier of wholesale materials to the building industry, and opened their first retail outlet in the 1950s. Among the oldest family-owned businesses in Hawaii, they are now a thriving home-center business with eight stores across Oahu. “We have a lot of big box competition,” says Carol Ai May, Vice President and granddaughter of the founder. “We watch our competition very closely.”
Hawaii’s unique business environment, far from the mainland, means that shipping is prohibitively expensive. So City Mill doesn’t currently offer e-commerce and depends on in-person store visits for sales. Google My Business is vital for providing store information such as store hours, photos, and directions to their Oahu customers. Google Analytics helps City Mill understand what customers do on their website, so the business can deliver information that matches what people are looking for, especially to those searching with smartphones or other mobile devices. “As the retail industry and customer expectations evolve, we need to stay relevant and updated, and be attractive to the younger customer,” Carol says. They also have a YouTube channel that features various DIY videos to educate and engage with customers.
City Mill has been a mainstay of the local economy for over a century. They’ve been named one of the best places to work nine times by Hawaii Business magazine. Carol expects they will continue to grow and become more digitally focused. Over the decades, many employees stayed with the company until retirement, while others have moved on to influence or start other Oahu businesses. “This company has been a training ground for many businesses in Hawaii,” Carol marvels. She and other family members see themselves as stewards for their generation and company. “Our business is a problem-solving business,” she adds. “And I think we've set the right tools in place to go forward.”City Mill Company, Ltd. has 500 employees.link www.citymill.com
Discover Hawaii Tours Honolulu, Hawaii
Discover Hawaii Tours
“I am living the American dream, thanks to the Internet and Google technologies.”Leo Malagon, President & CEO90% of web referrals from Googlelink www.discoverhawaiitours.comLeo Malagon recalls his humble start in life. His family emigrated from Cuba to New York City, where he grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in a tough neighborhood. Leo eventually joined the U.S. Army and was stationed on Oahu. Captivated by the island’s beauty and culture, he never wanted to leave. "When I got out of the military, I started my business in Waikiki with a brochure offering to take people on tours," Leo says. With the help of his ex-Marine wife, D'Manti, his parents, and a handful of employees, Leo founded Discover Hawaii Tours in 1995. Thanks to Google products, he's grown his startup to a $25-million-a-year company that employs 150 people.
"Google has changed the way we do business," Leo says. The company offers tours across the islands of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai, including volcano tours, hiking tours, and tours of Pearl Harbor. They use AdWords, Google's advertising program, to help customers find their activities. "’Luau’ is one of our biggest search terms," Leo says. "Google helps people find our Big Kahuna Luau experience." Google My Business helps Discover Hawaii get found on Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google+. "Ninety percent of referrals to our website come through Google,” Leo says.
Leo sees more postcard-perfect sunrises on the horizon, with a two-year plan to grow revenue to $100 million a year. "By learning more about what Google has to offer, we believe we can get to that point. For instance, we developed new products such as all-inclusive vacations, because of what the data from Google told us," he says. And according to Leo, keeping it local makes his operation special. "We are ambassadors of Hawaii. We are locally owned and operated. We generate a lot of jobs, and our money stays here in the state." They also donate 10 percent of earnings back to local communities. "We take pride in showing people the hidden parts of Hawaii," he says. "Thanks to our website, the Internet, and Google, we’ve become known as the local company that shows Hawaii to the world. It’s incredible."
90% of web referrals from Googlelink www.discoverhawaiitours.com