Second Koi Farm Announced on Koi Cruise

Cerritos, CA (PressExposure) June 23, 2009 -- Grant Williams CEO of MLC Cruises announced today that Nikkei Koi Farm is the second stop on their historic Koi buying trip and cruise. “Nikkei Koi is a world-class breeder and importer of Japanese Koi. We our proud to select them as one of our Koi farm visits on this once in a lifetime Koi buying trip and cruise,” said Williams.

Seventeen years ago during Hawaii’s annual State fair a young boy tossed a ping-pong ball at several glass bowls containing fish. That game of chance helped shape Gary Hironaka's destiny when the ball he threw landed in one of the bowls that held a small orange fish.

"I didn't even know what it was at first; I thought it was a comet (fish)," said Hironaka. When he brought it home in a little jar he placed it in a 29-gallon tank, which he soon replaced with a 55-gallon one. Eventually his father built a 300-gallon garden pond. As this fish kept growing Gary realized it wasn’t a comet but a Koi and with it Hironaka’s ambitions burst forth as he bought more; he was hooked. “It’s an art, there are so many different designs for every Koi, and there are different bloodlines. I wanted to find the best Koi in each bloodline. It’s like a treasure hunt.”

Gary started importing Koi from Japan when he was only 14 years old with the help of a friend of his who worked out all the shipment arrangements. “I borrowed $500 from my parents to pay for my first shipment of fish. I paid back my parents as I sold the fish. It was like an investment loan to start my high school job: selling Koi.”

That high school hobby turned into a nice little cottage industry, bringing in an average of $1,500-$2,000 a month. It wasn’t that difficult at the time only a single Hawaii state permit was needed to bring in as many fish as you wanted. Gary wasn’t selling enough fish to garner the attention of the IRS,but he was making a name for himself, which enabled him to continue selling the Koi to people in Hawaii and the Mainland.

After graduating high school Gary attended Brigham Young University in Utah. Gary thought the field of medicine would give his entrepreneurial plans a jump-start, because it was the only career he thought would pay enough to support his koi business. After Gary graduated with an organic chemistry degree he attended a semester at Baylor College of Medicine and soon realized medicine really wasn't his passion after all. He moved back to Hawaii to focus on the Koi. Within a year his efforts paid off and he made enough money selling fish to buy a farm for the company in Kahaluu the following year.

Gary recently started construction on a 2,700 sq ft fish house that will hold 4,500 fish and allow computerized control of all aspects of the growth and breeding process. Feeding will be done automatically, and filtering will happen with a few clicks of a mouse. Cameras will allow visitors to his website to monitor the condition of the fish and to inspect the cleanliness of the enterprise.

“If someone is going to buy, say, a $10,000 fish, they want to see the fish is real, that it’s live and healthy. The camera will help to show the quality of the fish so the customer can see how the pattern looks on the fish, how the coloration is - if it’s even, if it’s dark, if it’s thin,” said Hironaka.

Forking over the equivalent of a base model Hyundai Accent for a fish may seem extreme, but in the business of world-class Koi, it’s a drop in the bucket. A grand champion Koi, from the right breeder, can fetch a quarter million dollars. Hironaka has yet to hit such a level, and says there is perhaps only one breeder capable of pulling in such a price, but he’s made a wise investment or two in his time. In 2007 Gary bought a fish from Japan for $25,000. He left it with the breeder, who charged the 30-year-old entrepreneur $500 a year to care for the fish. Hironaka sold that koi to a gentleman from Hong Kong for $150,000. The profits never came home. Hironaka reinvested in more fish that he hopes will one day be part of his breeding stock. And while such a sale may sound like a windfall, it is just a portion of the estimated $650,000 cost for building and stocking the new fish house.

Hironaka lived in Japan for two years, and now goes there six times a year to buy Koi. He has spent up to $50,000 for a fish, and says he knows of someone in Japan who recently paid nearly $1 million for a Koi. Although this big-ticket fish caught everyone’s attention, they don’t come around very often. It’s the smaller, affordable fish that keeps the doors open. “The bread-and-butter of the business are the fish that sell for between $30 and $150. To keep the daily operations of the business going, I still have to sell the nicer, less expensive fish,” said Hironaka.

Nikkei Koi specializes in unique Koi, from the starter level to the high-end competition level Koi. He stocks the popular three Gosanke fish - Kohaku, Sanke and Showa.

On April 15, 2010 guests will meet in Honolulu for a two-night precruise hotel stay at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club. During this stay participants will visit Oahu’s top breeders, Kodama and Nikkei Koi Farms, before sailing. On April 17, 2010 everyone will board Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) newer and innovative ship, the Pride of America, for a 7-day cruise from Oahu to Maui, Hawaii and Kauai.

“This is a history-making event unlike anything else. We will all enjoy a buying trip and cruise that visits the top Koi breeders of the Hawaiian Islands. All of this while aboard a world-class cruise ship. This a Koi buying trip of a lifetime,” Williams said.

For more information on the Koi Cruise please visit []

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Contact: Grant Williams Memory Lane Concert Cruises, LLC 20224 State Rd Cerritos, CA 90703 541-679-6298 []

About Memory Lane Concert Cruises, LLC

MLC Cruises is a theme cruise operator, offering an array of world-class events aboard cruise ships. SEACruises is a local company which plans and coordinates special events aboard cruise ships. SEACruises exclusively handles all reservations for the Koi Cruise. CST#1016788-10.

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Press Release Submitted On: June 23, 2009 at 3:41 am
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