Pearl City Auto Works in Honolulu is the DRIVE Shop Spotlight for January.
Owner Erin Rodriguez took over from her father, Dennis Nakamura, in 2005. Nakamura originally opened the shop in the 1980s, and now Rodriguez carries on his love of cars and his priority of always offering great customer service.
Rodriguez grew up working at the shop and came to love the car world, learning everything from her Dad. Nakamura was a local legend in Hawaii’s racing community. Not only was he a demon on the track, but he also could fix any repair issue. Fifty other mechanics could have looked at the problem and thrown their hands up, but he could get to the root of the problem without breaking a sweat. It actually helped build his business.
Although Rodriguez had been working at Pearl City since she was 12 and proved her love of cars to her family, Nakamura was reluctant to have his daughter run the business. But his reluctance turned out to be the push she needed to take over.
Rodriguez took the reins in 2005 and has grown the shop to a thriving and successful business. Her two-bay shop exceeds the production and efficiency of any five-bay shop on the island.
If asked, Rodriguez says she was “born in the car world.”
“My father started it and I had to help my family as a 12-year-old,” she adds. “I knew that I would always love anything with a motor … and now here I am, the second-generation owner of Pearl City Auto Works.”
Rodriguez is proudest of her six-person strong team, which boasts more than 100 combined years in the industry. Her employees are a family, and in turn, they treat all of their customers like family too.
Rodriguez’s shop was struggling nine years ago. However, after coming onboard with DRIVE, “the business has grown to heights unimaginable,” Rodriguez says.
She and her husband, Raul, now have time to spend together and ride motorcycles – just one of the activities she can do on the beautiful island of Oahu.
A major focus of Pearl City is technology.
“We strive very hard to continuously learn new technologies to keep up with vehicle advancements,” Rodriguez says. “To be successful in this industry, the learning and training for both the owner and shop employees needs to be an ongoing priority.
“I’ve learned from DRIVE and my business consultant, Andrea, that with proper planning and training, a shop can grow to be more successful than dreamed of. Thank you, DRIVE, for pushing me and giving me the tools to succeed.”
DRIVE, a Monrovia, California-based consulting group, provided this article.