HONOLULU (KHON2) — From the Arizona to the Utah, and all the ships in between, the bunkers in Waikele offer a storage facility like no other.
A battleship row of sorts with a connection to World War II can be found at Storage Solution Honolulu.
“So inside is World War II ammunition bunkers they are partitioned out,” said Pam Dominque, of Storage Solution Honolulu. “We have 690 self-storage units and 33 bunkers.”
Dominque knows the storage business. She and her husband have five facilities in California. Her mother was born and raised on Oahu, so she always kept an eye out for an opportunity to due business here.
“A friend of mine told me she had part of this business,” Dominque said. “It was a self storage facility built from old ammunition bunkers and we just wanted to see it. We came down here and looked at it and found out the partners wanted to sell. So we did a handshake deal and basically three months later I am the self storage business in Hawaii.”
She calls it the best deal she has ever done. Not because of the income it generates, but for the history it shares.
“This was a base up until the 70s, a working base. I’ve actually contacted some military people and had some people come visit us who were here and were based here during the war and after,” Dominque said.
Domingue says the bunkers were already partitioned out when she bought the business. That is where the similarities between this and every other storage facility end, however.
“The customers love coming down here. It’s not just the the concrete building, but I got green and grass and flowers and all kind of things around them and animals running around. It’s different,” Dominque said.
It is the history that not only sets it apart, but brings people in — and not just customers.
“A lot of people like to come back to the property and they want to go onto the bunker that has the name of whatever battleship that they were stationed on during the war,” she said.
She says the Arizona and California bunkers are most popular. It is not uncommon for customers to wait for a spot to open up inside them, even if there is space in another bunker. She says business is good between the bunkers and all the parking spaces for rent. She works hard to keep it that way.
“We try to work with people. We are a small company, we don’t have a corporate board that we have to pay attention to, we just want to help people when we need to,” Dominque said. “Every customer is family, we treat them like that, we’re happy to see them.”
She says the business plan is simple looking forward; Be good to her customers and employees and continue to be a good steward of the land.
“This property has been here since the 20s. It was an active base. It’s a part of World War II. It’s a part of history and something that won’t go away and we want to keep it that way,” Dominque said.