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Remembering two sunny pioneers
The makers of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and neoprene wetsuits are rememebered.
By Ian Mount, FSB contributor

(FSB Magazine) -- WHEN AIKO TAKITANI COMMERCIALIZED the chocolate-covered macadamia nut, she established a business--Hawaiian Host--that would become one of the largest U.S. candy exporters. Takitani, who died in June at the age of 92, formed Hawaiian Host in 1960 with her husband, Mamoru. (Mamoru was the chef, Aiko the taster who also oversaw delivery, quality control, and accounting.) The company now sells 20 million boxes of chocolates a year.

AN OCEAN-OBSESSED transplant from Missouri, BILL MEISTRELL, his brother Bob, and a partner bought the inventory of a surf-and-dive shop in Redondo Beach, Calif., for $1,800 in 1953, and began to develop neoprene wetsuits under the brand Thermocline. Their iconic surf brand Body Glove came about 12 years later, after legendary surfer Duke Boyd asked Bill Meistrell what made his wetsuits different and he answered that they fit like a glove. Body Glove now makes about $200 million in sales annually. Bill Meistrell died on July 25, at the age of 77, from Parkinson's disease.  Top of page

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