How ProService Helped HONBLUE Navigate Uncharted HR During the Pandemic

Teaming up with ProService helped HONBLUE get much more than just payroll and HR basics. The HR firm’s support helped HONBLUE access pandemic relief funds to continue making investments in its business, including becoming the first Hawaii company to acquire a $1M Fuji printing press that makes printing more cost-effective for its clients.

ProService Helps HONBLUE Create Print Solutions for Hawaii

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Locations across the state, on Oahu and Maui
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Local employees
25
Years of partnership with ProService Hawaii

https://www.honblue.com/

Oahu: (808) 531-4611

Maui: (808) 214-1234

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Industry: Printing Services
Employees: 100+
Joined ProService: August 2010

HONBLUE is Hawaii’s most comprehensive print solutions company. In the last couple of years, the family-owned and operated business has rebranded itself as the largest printer in Hawaii and a technology leader in the local print market. HONBLUE is driven by innovation. Even before their clients have a need, they invest in the latest technical capabilities to ensure they’re ready. In 2022, HONBLUE was the first in Hawaii (and third in the nation) to acquire a $1M high-speed Fujifilm inkjet press, which bridges the gap between offset and digital printing. With the addition of this press, they have the most comprehensive equipment lineup that allows them to come up with the best, most cost-effective solution for their client’s printing needs.

Company Highlights:

  • A certified Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) printing company since 2009
  • First Hawaii company to acquire a $1M Fuji Printing Press in 2022
  • Multiple industry certifications for using the highest quality materials and equipment from start to installation: 3M, UASG, and PDAA certified
  • Proudly supports industry, charitable, educational, and cultural causes like the Hawaii Foodbank and the Hawaii International Film Festival

CASE STUDY

When COVID-19 hit Hawaii, HONBLUE counted on
ProService for its pandemic pivot and beyond.

Since 2010, HONBLUE has trusted ProService to be their one-stop-shop for HR – from payroll, healthcare coverage, and workers’ comp to professional development training. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, HONBLUE began to rely on the HR company in new ways. More than just the HR basics, HONBLUE leaned on ProService to get the critical support it needed to take advantage of pandemic relief funds provided by the government.

With an HR partner they could trust, HONBLUE navigated uncharted territories–like the Paycheck Protection Program and the Employee Retention Tax Credit–with more confidence and peace of mind. The result? HONBLUE was approved for PPP relief money and received six-figure tax credits through the ERC program, all of which could be reinvested in the business. From purchasing a first-of-its-kind printer for Hawaii to producing high-demand products like face and plexiglass shields and pandemic signage, maximizing relief programs enabled HONBLUE to pivot and remain resilient for Hawaii's business community.

“I love the fact that it’s a partnership. As a CFO, I need a partner that understands my business, the problems I have, and can provide a full suite of services.”– Harvey Rackmil, Chief Financial Officer

SOLUTIONS

PPP, ERC, Community Engagement, and More!

Here are the top four reasons why HONBLUE saw ProService as a trusted partner during the pandemic.

01. Step-by-step support for the Paycheck Protection Program application

While HONBLUE pivoted part of its business to serve the community during the pandemic, its print division which served the tourism sector, saw a nearly 55% decline. The company turned to ProService to help navigate governmental assistance programs. ProService's team of experts quickly sprang into action to walk HONBLUE through the complex PPP application process. The PPP funds received provided the assistance needed to get HONBLUE through the difficult pandemic times, ensuring HONBLUE team members remained employed.

ProService distilled key information to HONBLUE's CFO and HR department, consulting with them each step of the way to ensure the application was filled out accurately and in a format that Hawaii's major banks and lending institutions would accept. At the same time, ProService worked behind the scenes with major local banks to ensure that the right information was provided to the Small Business Administration for accelerated loan approvals. Harvey Rackmil, HONBLUE's CFO, reflects on the critical assistance ProService provided during this trying time. “Our account manager hopped on a call with us as we were filling out the forms and walked me through step-by-step, which helped us not to feel alone,” Harvey explained.

With ProService's assistance, HONBLUE and hundreds of other Hawaii businesses persevered through economic challenges brought on by the pandemic using PPP funding and guidance

02. Maximize tax benefits with the Employee Retention Tax Credit

When the pandemic hit, many businesses were forced to shut down or make pivots to their operations. To provide financial assistance and encourage companies to keep employees on payroll, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) was established through the CARES Act. However, as is sometimes the case with new legislation, complexities, and ambiguities abounded. For HONBLUE and hundreds of eligible businesses, ProService was there to help. Working very closely with HONBLUE, ProService helped the printing company refile and amend their 2020 and 2021 payroll tax returns to get the ERC funds that were due to them.

“ProService really helped us get through the pandemic through their help with the PPP and ERC claims. We could not have done those filings, frankly, without ProService's help,” explained Harvey. Together, we formed this partnership where I felt comfortable with the law, but then the mechanics and the actual filings are where ProService helped. It was a great partnership to make sure we maximized the ERC claim and the benefit that the government was providing to us.”

For HONBLUE, the funds the company has already received have had a significant impact on its business, enabling it to maintain operations, pay employees, and invest in equipment to sustain pre-pandemic levels of productivity. “An example behind me is this Fuji Digital Press. We could not have bought it if we had not gotten those government funds. That allowed us to make these investments in new printing technology that frankly, the business community here in Hawaii expects from HONBLUE,” said Harvey. 

03. Network and solve real business problems together

The Hawaiian term “ulu” embodies the ideas of growth and protection, which was the inspiration behind ProService's Ulu Hui. This executive luncheon hosted by ProService brings together local business leaders to engage in discussions around the key challenges affecting Hawaii's businesses and communities.

In 2022, ProService collaborated with Harvey to host and moderate an Ulu Hui event for the Financial Executives International (FEI) Hawaii Chapter. Over 20 CFOs from across Hawaii gathered to discuss various challenges impacting their businesses. Leaders shared their approaches to navigating a fluid economic environment, unearthing numerous solutions and strategies for dealing with issues like inflation and finding and retaining employees.

“People were happy to have a professional group like ProService facilitate that discussion and talk about the problems and issues that affect us as CFOs and finance professionals in today's challenging environment,” said Rackmil.

04. A holistic partner for your business

Harvey acknowledges that he, like other business leaders, needs a partner that goes beyond payroll processing and HR support. He views ProService as a partner that understands the local economy, can provide strategic advice, and support HONBLUE employees. “I always tell folks, when they ask me about ProService, that this is not just an HR or payroll company or just a client-vendor relationship…they are our partners”.

Over his 13+ year relationship with ProService, Rackmil has taken advantage of the ability to brainstorm with his ProService account managers about business issues and get their valued feedback. “I've had a long relationship with you guys, and I regard the account managers I work with as professionals I can talk to about business issues and get their feedback,” Harvey added. “As CFO, I value a partner that understands our business, understands the problems we have, and can provide training and solutions,” said Harvey.

In addition to providing strategic advice and support, HONBLUE leverages ProService's deep bench of expertise to train and develop its leaders. From ProService's ASPIRE program (for rising leaders) and Supervisor Series (for established managers) to safety courses like CPR certifications, the team at HONBLUE leans on ProService to help them create both a safe and engaging place to work for nearly 100 employees.