HONOLULU (KHON2) — Pay a visit to Kaimuki Auto Repair and it’s like stepping back in time to the early 1970s when the station first opened. Long before computers ruled the world.
Alan Nakamura grew up at this Waialae Avenue station and started working here right out of high school.
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He said the mission statement has never changed: keep it like it’s always been.
“This is like how it was back in the 70s. The early 70s when my dad started it. All the stations were called service stations. Gas and service we provide repairs gas and service,” explained Nakamura.
While many family businesses are struggling to survive Nakamura sees a bright future for the auto shop.
Because his daughter Laurie Marcouiller, who also grew up at the station, is hopeful to continue the family’s legacy.
“We grew up here doing little things like counting money or standing around while her parents are here working. It’s kind of been an ongoing thing,” Marcouiller said.
Although she graduated with a degree in kinesiology, Marcouiller has been working full-time at the auto shop for the last 15 years.
She said she’ll keep working here if she can find others to stick it out with her.
While gas stations have graduated to a self-service model, Kaimuki auto still offers self, mini and even full-service. Something Nakamura said he’ll never give up because it helps keep his connection to his customers.
“I think that’s the key right there — having that personal relationship,” said Nakamura. “And that’s the fun part about it all. I wouldn’t do it any other way and I told my daughter when she steps in you’ll be the point person you take over and you take care and you get to know every one of the customers.”
Long-time customer Dave Kaneshiro said, “honest dependable service. I never get cheated here. 100% safe…Old school Hawaii. Honest people — you can’t buy.”
And it’s that sense of trust and community that Nakamura said makes every single day worthwhile.
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“Appreciating your customers — having an excellent crew. My head mechanic has been here (for) over 30 years he’s excellent. He’s one of the key focus and my family and everybody’s family over here.”