Kauai Toyota plans to relocate from Rice Street

Kauai Toyota leaders have plan to consolidate their operations to a new location near the site of The Home Depot in Kukui Grove Village West.

Rick Ching, vice president of Servco Automotive, confirmed that company officials closed last week on the purchase from leaders of Grove Farm Company, Inc. of a 4.5-acre property on a block by itself behind Kukui Grove Village West.

He said company leaders hope to be open for business at their new location about a year from now.

“I think it’s a very positive thing for our customers,” he said. “We’re actually planning a new, full-service dealership, combining sales and parts and service,” he said.

Currently, Kauai Toyota officials have their sales space and parts and service departments at different locations, Ching said. The sales lot is on Rice Street in Lihu’e, while the parts and service departments are on Aukele Street in the second phase of the Lihue Industrial Park.

The sales lot has been at the Rice Street location for 34 years, according to Kauai Toyota personnel. Servco bought the business in 1985.

Ching would not reveal the sales price. He said company leaders currently lease the Rice Street sales-lot location. He also said the construction project for the new facility has not yet been put out to bid.

Ching said Servco leaders have a couple of projects in the works in Honolulu, and are well aware of the cost of doing business in Hawai’i.

Recently, Costco officials announced their future on Kaua’i is indoubt because construction bids had come in 30 percent higher than anticipated.

Ching said Servco officials would not be able to predict the total cost of the project, or any potential roadblocks, until they evaluated construction bids.

Pat Griffin, who is working on a book about Lihu’e, said she did not see Toyota leaders’ planned move as a sign that Rice Street might be in decline as a business venue.

“The reality is that no business is static. If they were, they’d be in trouble,” she said. “A lot of changes go on any business street.”

Griffin said there are still high hopes for central Lihu’e, based upon the county’s Lihu’e Revitalization Plan being formulated by officials with PBR Consultants.

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