A closer look into the company with the clever marquee messages on Beretania

Business Matters

HONOLULU (KHON2) — If you live in town or even if you don’t, you’ve probably driven past it dozens or even hundreds of times.

Hawaiian Rent-All has been a fixture on this Beretainia corner for more than half a century.

And Nathan Oh is the self admitted newcomer to the business who’s running it.

“Three years ago a friend of mine called and said I have a friend that wants to retire. A great business it’s been around for 50 something years,” said Nathan Oh.

It was something completely different from anything was doing. But it was also something that piqued his curiosity. 

“I’m part of the car rental business but this is equipment rental. So I said let’s take a look.  And I always wanted to be part of a fixture in the community and be a second generation of a family business because I started on my own,” said Oh.

So he decided to go all in.

“The expectation was high because people always came in here and they needed what they needed to help them to finish up their project or something that they needed on the job and a lot of the stuff we had was running a little old. So I needed to figure out how we could add new equipment,” he said.

He decided the best way was to auction off a big chunk of the existing rental items and replace them with new equipment. And even though Nathan is the company’s third owner, he says the founder of the company still comes around. 

“It’s still feels like a family business. Two brothers that started with Gordon and Norm and Louie. And Gordon still comes around and he scolds us because we’re not doing certain things,” he said.

Despite the occasional scoldings, Nathan says he’s appreciated all of it.

“I needed it. I needed the knowledge and his wisdom guide to kind of guide me because I was the newcomer without any background in this industry I’m dealing with people that are contractors I’m just a small a kid and I have contractors towering above me and it gets a little intimidating when they need to finish a project so I really needed all the knowledge I could get,” said Oh.

He also knew he needed every possible item, everyone else wanted. 

“Jackhammers, scissor lips to take them up 20+ feet, chainsaws and generators just a lot of stuff that I didn’t even really know what it was when I started,” said Oh.

Looking forward to says the key to success is simple. Take care of his customers by making sure he has everything they need. 

“I think the key here is just making sure we’re fully stocked equipment is new it’s reliable for nurses before some of the equipment doesn’t last as long so we have to constantly make sure the maintenance is up to par,” he said.

And then there’s the other part of his business that might be the most important of all. 

“The marquee out front. Pressure,” KHON asked. “People been looking at those messages for decades and now you have to come up with those clever sayings?”

“I don’t do it,” said Oh. “And we don’t talk about it. There are some people who go up there and put it up.”

“It’s been a rewarding experience to see that sign. And it’s rewarding because that sign doesn’t belong to us belongs to the public,” said Oh.

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