Iconic local businessman Lex Brodie dies

Iconic local businessman Lex Brodie dies: 10 p.m. report
Lex Brodie's office desk at 701 Queen Street after his death was announced
Lex Brodie's office desk at 701 Queen Street after his death was announced
Chris Launiaskas
Chris Launiaskas

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - He was known for ending his commercials by saying, "Thank you...very much." Lex Brodie, longtime businessman and former member of the state Board of Education, died Friday morning on Kauai. He was 98.

Brodie has been an icon in Hawaii for decades, beginning in 1958 when he moved from managing the Dole Pineapple Cannery to owning a Chevron station in Kaneohe, on Kaneohe Bay Drive, where he started Lex Brodie's Tire Company in 1961.

He moved the company to its current location on 701 Queen Street in 1964. Some photos of Brodie, along with some of the business awards he won, were placed on his original office desk, along with lei, when news came of his passing.

"My family's been coming to Lex Brodie's for probably 25 years, you know? And I remember the old man being here," said customer Chris Launiaskas. "He was older back then, but he was a jolly guy and definitely a cultural icon."

Brodie also started Small Business Hawaii. In 1981, The Wall Street Journal took note of his success and featured him in their national publication. In 1994, Brodie received the Holo I Mua award from the Better Business Bureau.

"I think the fact that Mr. Brodie could retire, and then his very high level of customer service could be built upon after he left is a true testament to the foundation that he laid," said Scott Williams, the current president of Lex Brodie's Tire Company.

Brodie retired from Lex Brodie's Tire Company in 1991. Brodie was also the campaign manager for Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris and served on the Board of Education from 1992-2003. He moved to Kauai after leaving the board.

Alexander Brodie was born on Kauai in 1914. According to his company, Brodie moved to Oahu and was in the first graduating class of Roosevelt High School. In 1933, he was one of the first Waikiki Beach Boys and was in business with Sam Kahanamoku, Duke's brother, giving canoe rides and surf lessons.

Services will be private. Survivors included his wife, Evelyn; children Wendy Pelligrini, Sandy Brodie, Robert Brodie and Janet Teves; seven grandchildren, five great-granddaughters and one great-great grandson.

Brodie's phrase, "Thank you, very much," is still featured in the commercials and on several signs in the shop on Queen Street. "We can say it our own way, but only Mr. Brodie can say 'thank you very much' like he did. So we don't even try to copy that," said Williams. "We just try to emulate the high level of customer service that he laid for us."

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.