Downtown association has annual meeting

During the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association’s recent event, Marketing Committee Chairman Bruce Omori announced the newly developed tagline for promoting Hilo, “Experience Aloha.”

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During the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association’s recent event, Marketing Committee Chairman Bruce Omori announced the newly developed tagline for promoting Hilo, “Experience Aloha.”

“The combination of those two words speaks of our lifestyle, and the spirit of our town. When customers come into our shop, they say, ‘Hilo is the Hawaii we’ve been looking for. This is the Hawaii we imagined,’” said Omori, the owner of Extreme Exposure Fine Art Gallery.

The DIA’s Annual membership meeting on Feb. 26 brought a full house of residents, business owners and community leaders to the EHCC/Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art (HI MOCA).

Mayor Billy Kenoi spoke about his commitment to Hilo and shared a story about a conversation he had with Councilman J Yoshimoto (who also addressed the group that evening). Kenoi said he and J recalled a time when the streets of Hilo were lit up by Christmas lights. Kenoi said, “I told J, ‘Let’s light up Hilo again.’”

The business community was very generous in donating items to support DIA’s efforts to promote downtown. Raffle and auction prizes included a facial from Mermade Spa, tickets to the upcoming Rex Navarrete and Augie T Comedy Show, art and photography by One Gallery and Extreme Exposure, a zip line tour from KapohoKine Adventures and two nights at the Hamakua Hilo Guesthouse. Café Pesto, The Oasis Café, Pineapple’s, Papa‘aloa Bakery, Subway Sandwiches, Sharky’s Coffee and Short and Sweet Bakery provided tasty food samples.

Steven Markham, incoming president of DIA, was master of ceremonies. The evening began with a pule by Kanani Aton followed by the slack key music of Ben Kaili. Iris Huddy performed the hula auana.

Andy Collins, coordinator of Mokupapapa Discovery Center, shared information on the new center, which opened Saturday. The project’s success has been a unique partnership between the federal government and the Koehnen family, owners of the landmark building that is the center’s new home.

Board Member and outgoing President Jeff Melrose announced the DIA’s recent departure from the Mooheau Bus Depot Terminal and upcoming transition to a board driven organization.

The 2014 Board of Directors includes Jeffrey Mermel, William McKnight, Leslie Sears, Sita Gonzales, Emily Emmons, Christine Mingo, Bruce Omori, Kealii Beck, Brent Ramirez, Robert Ragasa, Kanani Aton and Steven Markham.

The Hilo Downtown Improvement Association is a nonprofit community organization established in 1962.

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Our mission: to promote, support and sustain the history, culture, environment and economy of

the historic downtown area. Visit us at www.downtownhilo.com and “Experience Aloha.”

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