Director of Retail Operations
Class of 1982
By HanHa Youn
Walk into the Big Island Candies showroom and you see beautifully wrapped boxes of cookies and candies, floral arrangements, photographs and paintings. As customers taste bits of delicious cookies and candies, they are engulfed with vibrant color and beauty. The person responsible for all of this is Lance Duyao, the Director of Retail Operations and Special Events at Big Island Candies. He is in charge of the retail store, mail order, and celebrations departments.
In 2007, Lance was named the State Retailer of the Year by the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. He currently sits on the powerful Marketing Advisory Board for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Center and is also on the Board of Directors for Destination Hilo.
While attending UH Manoa to earn a degree in Travel Industry Management, he worked part-time at the San Francisco Rag Shop in the Ala Moana Center. When the resident visual artist went on a vacation that turned into an extended leave, he was asked to do window displays at the store. His work caught the eye of McInerny, Inc., and he was offered a job as a visual merchandiser there. After a few years, he left McInerny to pursue working for a number of retailers as a free-lance display artist. Wanting to gain experience in his field of study, Lance also worked at the Kahala Hilton Hotel and was able to hone his marketing skills while working for First Hawaiian Bank.
Lance has been with Big Island Candies since 2001, when he returned home to Hilo. He says his mother nurtured his creative process and that his father provided him with a strong work ethic. A world traveler, he says he can find inspiration in large cities like Tokyo, Milan, Dusseldorf and New York, or by simply walking through downtown Hilo. He believes that strong, vibrant colors are rejuvenating and among the tips he provides he says that a visual display should never have more than three items and for the design to be clutter-free. Lance has also designed and put together Christmas trees and holiday displays for Hawaii businesses and for notable celebrities.
A member of the class of 1982, he can vividly recall words of advice from teachers Mrs. Paula DeMorales, Mr. Donald Barnes, Mrs. Arlene Yoshimura and Mrs. Corliss Yamaki. He credits these teachers for much of the success that he enjoys today.