After 40 years on Kuhio Highway in Lihu’e, Gary’s Service is ready for a change.
On Tuesday, May 1, the gas and auto repair station will drop the gasoline part of the business to focus solely on repairs at its new location in the Kukui Grove Center at 4469 Kolopa St.
“It was a hard decision after 40 years, but it was time to move on,” said Glen Konishi, who co-owns the store with his father.
Opened in 1967 by Gary Konishi, the service station has stuck around through the decades. Glen Konishi, who joined his father as co-owner in 1978 and currently runs the daily operations, said he would like to get more mileage out of the business by shifting its focus and address.
“As cars get more efficient, there will b less of a dependence on fossil fuels,” he said.
He noted that as cars get more efficient, there will be less dependence on fossil fuels and less need for gas stations.
While hybrid vehicles have experienced an increasing presence during the last decade, Konishi said they do not comprise a large portion of his business because many are covered with three- to five-year warranties, and most hybrids are still relatively new.
Additionally, the gas business is very competitive, and the food mart at the current site requires that Konishi maintain a larger staff — at least one cashier during the week and 24-hours on the weekends.
Konishi will downsize his staff to four but continue to provide “the best service we can.”
A spot at Kukui Grove offers the business increased visibility and a chance at property ownership, Konishi continued. Currently, the station leases from Chevron, which leases from land owner The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
Konishi anticipates that the shopping center and nearby Costco and Home Depot will provide a steady flow of traffic through the area — and hopefully customers Gary’s Service, too.
“I think the Kukui Grove and Puhi area is growing and is going to be an extension of Lihu‘e,” he said.
The new location opens Tuesday, and the current station will continue to provide service during the interim.