After launching a few successful business ventures of her own, Pearl City entrepreneur Sharon Zambo-Fan has spent nearly two decades helping other companies expand their operations through volunteering with American Logistics Association Hawaii chapter. The group hosts its annual Hawaii Food Show Oct. 15-16, providing an opportunity for local businesses to reach the military market.
“I enjoy helping local companies sell their product to the military and teaching them how to take that product and sell it outside of Hawaii,” says Zambo-Fan, who is the volunteer chair alongside Mark Honda.
American Logistics Association is a national nonprofit comprised of manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that provide products to the military retail system. The show is open to any company that sells Hawaii-made goods and/or local companies that have exclusive distribution of national items. During the trade show, companies showcase their products to buyers from the military commissaries and exchanges. The significance of the event, Zambo-Fan says, is twofold: Local companies can expand their market base while providing a range of quality products to the military community.
“I grew up in a military family, and I remember the days when we would go into the commissary or the exchanges and how important it was to be able to go in and get the local products and have the shelves be full,” she says, adding that her family moved around to states including Oklahoma, Florida and Alaska before settling in Hawaii. “I think it is important to provide that to a service-member family.”
Zambo-Fan launched her career as founder and owner of Aunty Leilani’s Bakery. Currently, she operates Sharon Zambo-Fan and Associates Inc., which provides consultation in sales marketing, management and brand development.
In addition to running the Hawaii Food Show, Zambo-Fan also has used the event as a vehicle to raise funds to give back to the military community. Each year she facilitates fundraising efforts to benefit Wounded Warriors, along with programs that address post-traumatic stress disorder. Through working with participating companies and other sponsors, Zambo-Fan coordinates the donation of $10,000 to Wounded Warriors each year. Another $5,000 goes toward a post-traumatic stress disorder treatment program at Tripler Army Medical Center annually.
Zambo-Fan also has spearheaded efforts for American Logistics Association Hawaii chapter to provide three $4,000 scholarships to youths – either service members or commissary employees – each year.
“We felt that it was important to give back to those who have sacrificed for what we have today,” she says. “And if it wasn’t for the brave servicemen and women out there every day, we wouldn’t have what we have.”