Putting The Fun In Riding
General manager, Garden Island Motorsports
Please tell us about your business.
We’re a full-service motorcycle dealership. We carry four brands: Honda, Kawasaki, KTM and Yamaha. We carry off-road motorcycles, street motorcycles, ATVs, utility vehicles and everything from the minis on up to full size. We also sell parts and accessories, and for all the brands we’re authorized, we offer parts and service. We opened in June 2008, and took over a dealership that was here.
Why are you moving your location from Kapa’a to Lihu’e?
We just want to be more centrally located for people on the island. Being in Kapa’a town, people on the West side and Lihu’e don’t come this way that often. So we feel that being in Lihu’e, right on Rice Street, we’re easier to get to and it’s easier for the tourists to find us, too. We’re anticipating being open mid-July.
How did you get started in this business?
I’ve been riding dirt bikes since I was 6 or 7 years old. I’ve been in management in the furniture business for about 20 years. In 2007, I started selling cars at King Auto Center. Charlie King is the owner of Garden Island Motorsports and King Auto Center, and I was able to move into motorcycles here when we took over the business.
What is your role at this business?
I pretty much do everything. I help sales and service and oversee the daily operations of the business. I’ve got my hands in pretty much everything.
What sets your business apart?
The individual service. We are fortunate to have customers whom we build a relationship with; they come in even if they don’t need something. So it’s kind of a place to hang out, too. We are able to offer a good service to the community. We do things like pick up bikes for free when they’re not running. We just try to be a more service-oriented dealership, and be out there on the front and try to offer more than the next person.
Where are you from and where did you go to high school?
I was born and raised on Kaua’i and graduated from Kaua’i High School in 1982.
What is the most challenging aspect of being in this business?
Motorcycles are not a need, they are a want or a plaything, so you have to work a little harder at keeping the business moving.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being in this business?
I think the people who are involved in motorcycling are normally really appreciative and happy, and enjoy it a lot.
Are most people interested in motorcycles now that gas prices are higher?
We did have an increase in people coming in looking at motorcycles and scooters.
Do you teach people how to ride?
Yes, we do teach people how to ride. One of the services we started offering again is assistance in getting a motorcycle license, so we help the people through the process. We have a bike they can borrow to learn on, and we have the license manual that we loan out. We go over the manual and we also explain the riding course to them. We even have a registered motorcycle and scooter that we loan out for them to use to take the riding test, because you need to have a license to get insurance and you need an insured motorcycle to take your test. So we offer that to the customers who are buying or are committed to buying a motorcycle from us.
What makes you get up and go to work every day?
Just the challenge and the people we run into throughout the day. I ride to work and it’s just nice to get out, and we have the perfect weather for riding.
What kind of motorcycles do you own?
The majority are dirt bikes, and I have a Honda 750 street bike.