Another Hawaii institution — Saiki Motors — closes its doors

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Another longtime Hawaii business is closing down.

Nearly 75 years after their parents started Saiki Motors in the former plantation town of Waipahu, the three Saiki brothers – Yoshi, Yasu and Walter – shut down operations on Thursday.

"Oh yeah, we gonna miss this, man," said 79-year-old Yasu Saiki, one of the co-owners of Saiki Motors.

Saiki Motors first opened as a gas station back in 1947.

Since then, they've been known as your friendly neighborhood repair shop.

But the business really started before that, when Kikuyo Saiki, the boys' mother and quiet backbone of the family, encouraged their dad, Bill, to pursue his dreams.

"My mom told him that if you're a good mechanic, why don't you open up your own business?" said Yoshi Saiki, the oldest brother.

That's just what William "Bill" Saiki did in 1943, in the middle of World War II. As the business grew, so did Dad's reputation for genuinely caring about his customers, even selling gas on credit to nearby plantation workers who were short on money.

"And so he had a business alongside this station here, from 1943 to 1947," Yoshi said.

The 1947 expansion was their father's dream along with working with his three boys. Saiki Motors, and the three Saiki brothers, have been a fixture in Waipahu ever since then.

Was it hard for the three to work together? "Yeah, no problem," Yasu joked. "I just don't listen to him."

None of the brothers was ever professionally-trained, instead learning from their father and over the many years on the job. But even though they're still having a good time, now at 81, 79, and 76 years old, it's more about supervision. And retirement.

"I want to go on trips and enjoy myself ... you know, its a good thing," Yoshi said.

"I don't know. I might go back bowling. (laugh) Or golfing. and fishing," joked Yasu.

Add brother Walter, "Well, we all getting old and kinda hard to bend down so we figured it's about time."

And the one thing they're most thankful for? Their loyal customers, many of whom are now their good friends.

"If I was younger, I stay here yet," Yasu said.

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