Chevron Hawai’i offers to sell stations to Kaua’i dealers

The chance for some Chevron dealers on Kaua’i to buy the stations they operate “could be a golden opportunity,” said the operator of two of the island’s six Chevron stations.

Bob Swartz, an O’ahu resident who recently took over management of both the Rice Street Chevron in Lihu’e and Koloa Chevron on the South Shore, said he is considering purchasing one or both of the stations.

“I need to evaluate whether or not that would be appropriate” for him and his family, said Swartz, who thinks it will be up to the individual dealers to initiate sale negotiations with Chevron.

Chevron owns the land under the Rice Street station, and the Koloa station is on lease land.

Chevron Hawai’i officials recently announced that dealers can buy stations on Kaua’i the corporation owns or leases, if the dealers are interested.

If the dealers aren’t interested, Chevron will continue to control the stations.

Chevron spokesman Albert Chee said the sale offer is one being made nationwide to dealers, as Chevron moves towards a retail business model where either Chevron owns all the assets and Chevron employees run the stations, or someone else owns all the assets and Chevron just supplies the gasoline.

Most of the Chevron stations in the state are on land either owned or leased by Chevron, and subleased to dealers like Swartz and Glenn Konishi of Gary’s Service, Inc., on Kuhio Highway in Lihu’e, Chee said.

The move away from Chevron land ownership and leaseholds should lead to a more efficient business model, Chee said.

“All of this is voluntary,” the Chevron representative said. “Nobody’s been forced or coerced, and it’s really up to the dealers to come to us to identify that they’d like to pursue this.”

Konishi, whose family has operated Gary’s Service since 1967, has expressed interest in purchasing the dealership, which is on leased land.

“I don’t know what the offer will be,” said Konishi, who said he hasn’t decided yet if the family will purchase the station outright, or just continue to run it.

Konishi said Chevron officials on O’ahu asked dealers if they were interested in owning the stations they manage, and told those interested they’d be back in touch with more information. So far, that hasn’t happened, he said.

The Chevron dealer pays a percentage of sales (gas and service) to Chevron as rent, and buying the station would eliminate the need to pay that rent, he said.

Operators of the other Chevron stations on Kaua’i, include Leonard Yamamoto of Leonard’s Kapa’a Service; Jeff Guest of Princeville Service Station, Inc.; and a representative of Taba Service in Kalaheo. None could be reached for comment for this report.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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