Shopping Centers Today International

MAR 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Page 26 of 59

M a r c h 2 0 1 6 / S C T 27 Not only was he bored, he was per- plexed, too: He could not understand why, with fresh fish being pulled from the ocean each morning, mere steps from his own backyard, a fish sand- wich still cost five times as much as a turkey sub. "I was angry about how much it cost for people to eat," Phil- lips said. "Restaurants were charging tourist prices for people who live here. I thought, 'This can't be reasonable.'" He set out to do some investigat- ing on fish costs and rents. "I thought maybe I'd open a restaurant, for fun, just IcHael PHIllIPs fIguRed He had accomplished what he set out to do and that he could now wrap up his business career. He had owned pizza-restaurant and cell-phone chains for years, but they were all sold off, and now he would retire to Hawaii. "I was never going to work again," he said. This was 2003, and Phillips did retire, and he did relocate to Hawaii. But he had not accounted for two things: He was only 44, and he still had plenty of entrepreneurial drive left in his tank. "a few years into retirement, I got bored," Phillips conceded. to break even," he said. He visualized a small, intimate, casual restaurant where friends, neighbors and church members could gather to break bread affordably, a place with the warm, friendly, open vibe of his own kitchen — and where people would grab their silverware and napkins themselves, or feel comfortable eating overfilled fish tacos with their hands. The restaurant he envisioned back then is coconut's fish cafe, and it opened in a Maui shopping center in 2009. The 1,100-square-foot, Hawaiian- style spot, decorated with tables made from surfboards and located less than a mile from Phillips' home, offers a selec- tion of handmade tacos, salads and sand- wiches — the $11.49 grilled ono burger (made from the ono or wahoo fish) is Phillips' favorite. Now there are three additional res- M Taste of Hawaii coconuts Fish caFe is bringing aloha spirit to the Mainland By Rebecca Meiser r e T a i l i n g T o d a y

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