Oka’s Collision Centers of Hawaii, a family-owned company with more than 50 years in business, has announced the purchase of Island Fender in Honolulu, Hawaii. The company also owns Oka’s Auto Body in Waipahu, a town in Oahu, Hawaii.
“We are very excited to have purchased Island Fender and grow our company,” said Brandon Okahara, co-owner of Oka’s Collision Centers of Hawaii. “We look forward to the challenges and the added opportunities to build on the foundation that our family has built over the years.”
Oka’s Auto Body was established in 1965 by Eddie Okahara. Over the years, his three children, Brandon Okahara, Kyle Okahara and Marlo Vincenti, worked at the business and now own and operate the company. In 2020, they learned that Island Fender, established in 1937 by Van Takemoto, might be available to purchase.
“It was not a prompt decision,” said Carl Vincenti, business development manager. “Fortunately, we belong to a North American Performance Group facilitated twice a year by our paint company, AkzoNobel. Through these meetings, we’ve developed relationships with other body shop owners in this group, and the opportunity to purchase Island Fender developed.”
Carl said the two business owners, Eddie and Van, have been family friends for many years.
“In Hawaii, we think everything is connected in the communities we live and work in,” he said. “At some level, someone in the family knows someone else, and the family is extended through these relationships.”
“Takemoto, whom we refer to as ‘Uncle Van,’ is a successful businessman and has been a leading figure in the collision repair industry for decades,” said Brandon. “Like Eddie, he is a wealth of experience and we’re thankful that he is willing to share information and consult with us as we continue to operate and grow.”
After months of planning, the purchase was finalized in October 2022. The business partners established a new company, Oka’s Collision Centers of Hawaii, which owns the two locations.
Kyle leads estimating and sales at Island Fender, Brandon leads estimating and sales at Oka’s and Marlo works with administrative team members, trains new employees and coordinates other aspects of the operation.
The owners are looking at best practices at the two locations and incorporating the best fit in each. They are also setting up a management system capable of tying the locations together, evaluating overhead and working to eliminate redundancy.
“Our long-range goals include growing our two facilities and possibly adding other locations,” said Carl. “We want to continue to build a certified, well-trained team of professionals.”
The company takes pride in providing customers with convenient service with compassion and ensuring a proper repair. This involves being certified by automotive manufacturers and training technicians. The company is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Assured Performance and is an I-CAR Gold Class shop.
“We feel it’s important for team members to be well-equipped with state-of-the-art tools and equipment,” said Kyle.
Added Marlo, “We treat all employees like family and take pride in providing a professional, fun and safe place to work. We want to ensure all team members have the basic needs to grow in our company and care for their families.”
The owners also make it a priority to implement sustainability in their business practices.
“We think about sustainability from a commonsense perspective and live ‘PONO’ by participating in these types of programs,” said Carl. PONO is the Hawaiian word for proper. If a person is living PONO, he said it means they are living in balance with other things, places and people.
Brandon said they were one of the first companies in Hawaii to switch to waterborne coatings and installed photo voltaic panels to reduce their carbon footprint. They recycle various materials, from automotive parts to plastic bottles and cans.
The Oka family is involved in the Auto Body Paint Association of Hawaii and participates in professional development programs offered by the industry organization. They also support the local community and regularly participate in school programs and community fairs. They assist various organizations, such as the Food Bank, Toys for Tots, Disaster Relief programs, emergency responders and military members.
“We are always looking for ways to be a responsible business and support the local community where we live, work and our children go to school,” said Brandon. “We feel everything is connected here and make it a priority to stay involved with fundraisers as part of our commitment to provide ‘Service to Others.’”
The business has received numerous awards in Hawaii, including the National Sustainability award, the State of Hawaii Woman Business Leadership Award and Painter Sharpshooter awards. In addition, Oka’s has been recognized as a responsible business in its community by the State of Hawaii House of Representatives and Senate Members.
For more information on Oka’s Collision Centers, visit okasautobody.com.