LIHUE, Hawaii (KHON2) — Tanaka Hardware will soon be celebrating 107 years in business on the Garden Island.
The little shop is tucked away on Kalena Street. In it, customers can find practically every hardware tool they’ll need, and more.
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“We have a full sheet metal shop. We do custom welding, fabrication, chainlink,” 4th generation owner, Lori Koga said about the many services they offer.
Koga said there is something special about a locally owned hardware store that the big box company down the street just can’t compete with.
“We know our customers that come in. We ask, ‘How’s your auntie? How’s grandma? How’s baby?’ and we know the family. They know us,” Koga said about their customer service.
On top of the stellar customer service, Tanaka Hardware carries old parts that many big box stores don’t.
“Being that we’ve been here for over 100-something years, we know what the community needs,'” Koga said. “They come in and they say, ‘Oh, this faucet is 30 years old.’ ‘Oh, no problem. We have that part.”
However, there are many challenges that come with running a small business.
“My grandparents had to relocate, find a bigger location,” Koga explained. “My parents had to computerize, and then they dealt with the big box stores moving in down the street. We had storms. We had major hurricanes, you know, and today, we’re dealing with the world wide web. We’re dealing with a COVID pandemic.”
The pandemic has been by far one of Tanaka Hardware’s biggest obstacles to overcome.
“It was difficult. It was so hard when COVID first started,” Koga said. “There were some nights where I didn’t know what to do.”
Even now, the business is still dealing with pandemic problems like supply chain issues and shipping delays.
Despite the challenges, Tanaka Hardware is getting ready to celebrate 107 years in business, all thanks to their loyal customers.
“We will keep working hard for them,” Koga said. “Not just for my customers, but for my ancestors that paved the road before me. They put in the hard work. You know, and they they did this. So I can continue to do this.”