Known as Hawaii’s gateway to the world, Honolulu is home to a vibrant commercial scene and many exciting business opportunities. Helping the city’s developers, business owners, and local entrepreneurs find their place in this economically thriving metropolis are the best retail contractors in Honolulu. 

The companies below have provided project owners with modern, customer-centric, and high-performance buildings for decades. Some of these firms operate nationally; others focus on the region’s structural, architectural, and functional preferences. These companies are multi-awarded, highly featured, and celebrated by the industry’s most notable institutions. 

Layton Construction

707 Richards Street, Suite PH-1A, Honolulu, HI 96813

Layton Construction led the demolition and reconstruction efforts for Sports Authority. The 42,000-square-foot retail facility underwent a transformation that upgraded its MEP systems and updated its storage spaces and office areas. The tenant improvement work also included the installation of new owner-furnished materials for the final interior work. The commercial space is located and operates in Lihue.

Since the firm’s inception in 1953, it has collaborated with local and international brands to complete modern renovations and build-outs. Some of these projects have won industry awards, including the Build Hawaii Awards from the General Contractors Association of Hawaii as well as the Southwest “Best of” Awards from the Engineering News-Record (ENR). 

Constructors Hawaii Inc.

1728 Kahai Street, Honolulu, HI 96819

Constructors Hawaii was commissioned by Gustafson Hawaii to build the 18-8 Fine Men’s Salon. The project involved the build-out of a 1,592-square-foot commercial space that highlights the sleek and humble interiors of minimalist contemporary design. The work was a collaboration between the company’s building team and the leading design firm, MGA Architecture. The work highlights neutral palettes of light brown flooring and egg white walls and ceiling. Designed for interaction and easy navigation, the open space layout allows customers to enjoy an expansive, airy space designed to encourage relaxation. 

Since the firm’s establishment in 1972, it has produced client-centered projects that emphasize the interaction between the structure and its users. Industry publications, including Building Industry Magazine and Hawaii Business Magazine, have highlighted the qualities of the firm’s practice and its overall contribution to the region’s retail sector. 

Armstrong Builders LLC

80 Sand Island Access Road, Suite #209, Honolulu, HI 96819

Armstrong Builders built one of the Island of Oahu’s commercial landmarks, the Mililani Gateway. The retail center is home to a long list of tenants and local brands that cater to its surrounding communities. Aside from the selection of products and services that the center offers, it provides parking spaces for tenants and patrons. Upon completion, the work quickly caught the attention of the building community because of its functional and customer-centered design. Completed in collaboration with the Armstrong Design department, the project won the Grand Award-New Commercial Category, given by Hawaii’s Building Industry Association (BIA). 

Shopping centers and retail centers like this featured project dominate the firm’s portfolio. Some of its major clients include the international coffee and dining brand, Starbucks. Established in 1976, the firm is an award-winning company that recently won the Grand Award at the 2020 Building Industry Design & Construction Awards.

Unlimited Construction Services Inc.

733 Bishop Street, Suite #1717,  Honolulu, HI 96813

Unlimited Construction Services led the building efforts for the 280 Beachwalk project. Located in Oahu, the project is a commercial and retail complex that houses several known brands from the hospitality, dining, and entertainment sectors. Valued at $1.6 million in construction and project cost, the project is one of the landmarks in the city’s vibrant urban community. Another project, completed by the firm in recent years, is the JN Velocity in Honolulu, a commercial facility that offers a modern shopping, dining, and living experience. 

The firm’s commercial portfolio includes other Hawaiian landmarks in Honolulu and its nearby communities. The firm’s services, launched in 1990, have produced many modern structures for a wide range of markets. Building Industry Magazine and Building Industry of Hawaii consistently feature some of the firm’s most iconic projects. 

Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc.

94-535 Ukee Street, Waipahu, HI 96797

Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc. was tasked with the construction of Nissan’s Kalihi location. The work is one of the firm’s most significant projects and was supplied for a global brand. In order to deliver this modern commercial project, the company partnered with design firm Sueda & Associates. The project included the construction of a retail dealership’s service area, a new showroom, offices, parts storage, and restrooms. Featuring a minimalist and sleek interior design, the building also provides a floor-to-ceiling glass façade that brings natural light into the main areas of the showroom.

The firm’s work for a wide range of sectors has also been commended by industry institutions. GCA of Hawaii, for instance, awarded the firm a number of design-build recognitions in recent years. Since its inception in 1963, the firm’s milestones have been featured several times in Hawaii Business Magazine.

Swinerton Construction

841 Bishop Street, Suite #500, Honolulu, HI 96813

Aside from its projects in Hawaii, it also took on challenging construction projects for the same market in other nearby states. Swinerton Construction’s Pacific Northwest location has led some of the biggest commercial and retail projects in the region. For Spokane Tribe Casino, for instance, the company partnered with Cunningham Architects to deliver the center’s 25,000-square-foot expansion work. With inspiration derived from Native American design elements, the new spaces provided additional rooms for gaming spaces. The project followed a one-year timeline and was completed in 2020. 

As one of the oldest, most established construction companies in the United States, the firm has a long history of retail projects that shaped many region’s commercial landscapes. In Hawaii, the firm dominated the market and earned a number of Best of Hawaii Awards. The firm has also been a regular winner in ENR’s annual regional and national “best of” rankings.

Hensel Phelps

841 Bishop Street, Suite #2001, Honolulu, HI 96813

Hensel Phelps has worked with a wide spectrum of commercial clients from major parts of the United States. Many of these projects are high-value construction, construction management, and design work that have shaped the dynamic urban landscapes of many Pacific Northwest cities. For the commercial market, the firm has completed a total of over 500 successful projects worth $18.7 million and covering 100,000,000 square feet of space. 

Since the firm’s foundation in 1937, it has produced significant architectures and structures that are celebrated by the building community. In recent years, many of these projects have been a recipient of notable recognition, including the Build America Award, Design-Build Institute of America Awards, and National Safety Awards.

Ralph S. Inouye

500 Alakawa Street, Honolulu, HI 96817

Ralph S. Inouye and his building team delivered the Kapolei Village Center, a commercial and retail complex that covers 3.94 acres of property. The work was provided for Group 70 International and involved a collaboration with the project’s commercial owners. Aside from the major construction efforts required to complete the modern commercial center, the firm had to conduct value engineering consultations to achieve an on-time, on-budget delivery. 

As one of the oldest and highly regarded general contractors in Hawaii, Ralph S. Inouye has led many of the region’s significant landmark projects, especially for the retail and finance industries. Since it first launched its services in 1962, it has completed a multi-awarded portfolio and much of its work has been recognized with Build Hawaii awards of excellence and merit.

Allied Builders System

1717 Akahi Street, Honolulu, HI 96819

Allied Builders System delivered the renovation of the Town Center of Mililani for new owner, M&J Wilkow. As a design-assist collaboration with Hawaii-based architect firm AHL, the project dramatically transformed the popular retail and restaurant hub originally built in 1988. With careful planning and execution, $7.1 million of capital improvements and other upgrades were completed without disruption to the 90 plus tenants and their customers. The new water feature and festive canopy sails are highlights of the renovation, creating new gathering spaces for all to enjoy. The firm was subsequently awarded a mall expansion contract which increased the leasable area by nearly 6,000 square feet.

The firm’s five decades of experience have seen the firm partner with some of the biggest developers in the region. If you check out the firm’s portfolio, you’ll see many successful project deliveries for well-known retail clients and additional specialization in hospitality, education, and healthcare construction.

Hawaiin Dredging Construction Company Inc.

605 Kapiolani Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96813

Hawaiin Dredging Construction Company led the Ala Moana Center Ewa mall construction project that produced three additional, multi-level structures to this famous Hawaiian commercial center. The new structures accommodated new tenant spaces and dining spaces as an answer to the mall’s growing need for modernization and expansion. The work also provided larger parking spaces for its tenants and patrons. This phase of the project added five new levels of parking. The firm successfully completed the work while the mall was in full operation.

This featured project as well as other significant work for the commercial sector— helped the firm build its reputation as a preferred builder. Since its establishment over 100 years ago, the firm has remained one of the most successful builders in the region. 


  • Jake Gustafson

    Jake has served as Senior Editor at General Contractors and brings a wealth of experience rooted in his passion for building. Holding a degree in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University, he actively engaged in industry-related activities, including membership in the Associated General Contractors of America student chapter and participation in the Associated Schools in Construction student competition. Previously, Jake served as a project engineer for a prominent general contractor in Portland, where he played a pivotal role in various aspects of construction projects, from pre-construction to subcontractor management. His expertise extends to working on innovative projects, such as North America's largest CLT commercial building. Expertise: Commercial Construction, Commercial Remodeling, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Editor at General Contractors, Project Engineer for Portland-based general contractor, Field Engineer for the largest CLT commercial building in North America Education: Oregon State University, Degree in Construction Engineering Management