HONBLUE has been at its current address of 501 Sumner Street for about half of its 50-year history. Previous locations include 866 Iwilei Road, just down the road from where the are today, and 556 Reed Lane in Kakaako. However, to find our very first location, back when we were called simply Honolulu Blueprint, you’ve got to head on over to 816 Kapiolani Boulevard, across the street from the former location of the once popular Flamingo Resturant, and around the corner from the fledgling Honolulu International Center.
Larry Heim Sr., aka Mr. Heim, founded Honolulu Blueprint in 1967. An architect from Palo Alto, California, Mr. Heim and a good friend who owned a printing company, decided to go into business together. Their options were either Seattle or Honolulu. “You know, Seattle has a lot of rain, and it’s too cold,” he recalls thinking. “I thought about Honolulu and said that sounds real good.” The choice was made.
The business partners made an exploratory trip to Hawaii to do some reasearch. While they were here, they interviewed several local architects to get a feel for the state of the industry in Hawaii. It was on this trip that the pair decided this was the perfect time and place to make their move. They quickly signed a lease for a commercial space at 816 Kapiolani Boulevard, ordered a printing machine, and tied up their affairs in California. Within a month they were back in Hawaii, ready to go. Honolulu Blueprint was a reality.
On their first official day of business, an eager Mr. Heim arrived at work to open the doors only to learn that Kapiolani Boulevard was closed – there was a parade that day, and Honolulu Blueprint was right on the parade route. So much for their grand opening! Their second day was more successful, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Flamingo closed its doors in 2008, ending a 49-year run. Honolulu International Center became the Neal Blaisdell Center. Honolulu Blueprint, as we know, moved on to bigger and better things. 816 Kapiolani doesn’t exist anymore. It should be near the corner of Ward Avenue, next to the new Symphony Honolulu tower, but it’s nowhere to be found. There’s Mercedes-Benz of Honolulu at 818 Kapiolani. Immediately before that is 770 Kapiolani, an office building. Somewhere in between those buildings, masked by concrete, mirrored glass, and manicured patches of green, was where everything got its start.