Mom-and-pop Waipahu business closing after 74 years

A longtime, mom-and-pop business in Waipahu is getting ready to close after 74 years in business. Three brothers have been running Saiki Motors and they say it’s time to retire.

William Saiki always had a passion for fixing cars. So with the support of his wife Kikuyo, he opened his own auto repair shop on Waipahu Street. That was in October 1943.

His three sons, Walter, Harold and Albert started helping out before they could even drive.

“I was nine years old, pumping gas, 1947,” said Harold Saiki.

The brothers didn’t go to mechanic school, but received on-the-job training from their father.

“Back in those days, the car is different too, we gotta do more things too, labor wise,” said Harold Saiki.

They say their father taught them not just about cars, but about people.

“You gotta be honest, treat the people nice and they in turn, return the same thing,” said Harold Saiki.

As the Saiki boys grew older and stepped into larger roles, their father continued to work every day.

“When my dad used to be up here, you know sitting by the front door over there and greeting the customers,” said Albert Saiki.

But after 74 years, they say, it’s time to retire. They haven’t had any luck finding new buyers and the next generation, does not want to take over. So on August 31, Saiki Motors will close.

“Since I can still walk and all that, I want to travel,” said Albert Saiki.

“Probably go back bowling, golfing, and help the kids,” said Harold Saiki.

But retirement doesn’t mean, they’ll stop doing what they’ve always enjoyed.

“I love cars. I still get my old, 1960, my first brand new car. And still have them today,” said Harold Saiki.

“What kind of car?” I asked.

“It’s a 1960 Impala,” said Harold Saiki.

Running a family business for 74 years hasn’t been easy. But they credit their longevity to family.

“The backbone of us three working together is my mom. She is the backbone of the family. She kept us all together,” said Walter Saiki.

“Oh we fought, we fought, we fought a lot, but we didn’t throw blows, that’s the main thing,” said Albert Saiki.

And they can never forget the customers from across the island, who they also thank for their success.

“I won’t forget what they did. All these years they helped us. That’s why we lasted this long,” said Harold Saiki.

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