Don’t Blame the Tool
Hardware Hawaii brings its wares to the Leeward side.
As we coast further and further from the era of mom-and-pop hardware stores, the more commercial “box” home improvement stores may immediately come to mind when thinking about construction or remodeling suppliers.
But, let us not forget that HARDWARE HAWAII has been right here serving the O‘ahu and Kaua‘i communities for decades and they are still growing.
Approaching the first anniversary of the opening of their Kapolei location, the residents, businesses and contractors on the Leeward side have finally been able to enjoy the customer-first service Hardware Hawaii has been providing to our Kailua and Windward neighbors for 60 years.
“We have deep roots here. The reason contractors and residents very confidently purchase products from us is because they are the ones who live here … they’re the ones who see when new houses go up and want them to be up for at least 100 years,” says director of sales Kehau Amorin.
With more than 3,500 combined locations nationwide between Home Depot and Lowe’s how does Hardware Hawaii compete? The answer lies in their dedicated consistency and practice of customer service. To the staﬀ at Hardware Hawaii, coming into the hardware store or lumberyard should be more pleasure than a pain.
“Our customer service sets us apart. We’re a full-service lumber and hardware store with a hometown spirit,” says lumber manager Aaron Van Aken.
“You don’t have to pull your own lumber,” he adds. “You come down with a list and we’ll load it for you and meet you at your vehicle.”
In addition to paying strict attention to customers’ needs, Hardware Hawaii prides itself on the enormous variety of inventory it keeps in stock at each location.
“The variety of SKUs (stock keeping units) and selection of material is outrageous,” says Van Aken. “Over the past 60 years there have been a lot of diﬀerent companies coming to build houses here. I notice right away that a lot of home improvement stores don’t carry many older inventories the way we do.”
Being knowledgeable about the type of neighborhoods and homes that we have on O‘ahu helps Hardware Hawaii personnel understand what materials need to be oﬀered to the community.
“Oﬅentimes, I drive our new employees around and point out and tell them to look at the neighborhoods we have here. I want them to be knowledgeable and understand the construction industry. Some customers come in and like to exchange pieces and materials aﬅer 40 years. It can be hard to find materials that coincide with the original home material. [People] come to us for those hard-to-find items,” adds Van Aken.
With the rapid expansion and construction projects on the Leeward coast, Hardware Hawaii is carving out a niche at their newest location right across the railroad tracks from Costco. With resorts like Disney’s Aulani taking shape and the potential for further and more robust development, Hardware Hawaii seeks to provide for a growing community.
“We are that neighborhood store, but in a much bigger way for the community,” says Amorin. “We have the largest developments happening in this area and as we do work with our neighborhoods we also work on very large projects and have the capabilities to do both.”
And Hardware Hawaii can certainly provide that support. Coming into the Kapolei location, customers are welcomed by a grandiose Glulam entryway that gives way to a 21,000-square-foot hardware store as well as their 18,000-square-foot lumberyard equipped with automated lumber racks.
“I see a lot of potential down the road here because it’s all brand-new housing going up,” says Van Aken. “Our die-hard customers are thrilled they don’t have to travel all the way to Kailua or Mapunapuna anymore.”
With the growing community in Kapolei and surrounding areas, Hardware Hawaii is dedicated to being a focal point for that growth, both inside and outside the store. During their first year, Hardware Hawaii Kapolei has helped numerous community events including the Kapolei City Lights Parade and Patriot Glow Star Run—a fundraising event for service veterans.
Working with the next generation in the construction and development industry, Hardware Hawaii has partnered with the Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) division giving future plumbers, engineers, architects and carpenters the proper and practical guidance about a career in the construction field.
“Coming up on one year is something we’re all proud of,” says Kapolei store manager Kawai Alameda. “We want the community to know we are here for them.”