Kurt, Craig, & Max Yoshikawa

McKinley Car Wash

We’re really lucky to have such a loyal customer base. There’s people I see on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, and these people keep returning because they trust what we do.
Meet the Yoshikawas

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About the Entrepreneur

Started in 1947 by Yukio Yoshikawa, McKinley Car Wash is one of the only remaining full-service gas stations in Hawaii. Today, Yukio's sons Craig and Max, along with Craig's son Kurt, manage the beloved business, which is still located on Kapiolani Boulevard in the heart of Honolulu and specializes in car washes, detailing, and safety checks.

Ask the Entrepreneur

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How has your multi-generational business remained successful after all these years?

Craig
: Everybody has to work for the common good of the family and not think of their personal agendas. My uncles and my father stressed that and we continue to stress that if the company does good, everybody will benefit. So you have to think of the company first and everybody will be fine.
Kurt
: We pride ourselves on being one of the last full service gas stations in Hawaii. So when our customers come in, they get a little bit of extra. We check their oil levels, we fill up their water reservoirs, we check their tire pressure and we try to give as much value back to our customers.
Max
: You have to be optimistic, be positive, and learn as much as you can about the business and your competitors and just have a lot of grit to stay on the path.

What does it take to be a good leader?

Max
: We have to work by example. We work shoulder to shoulder with our coworkers, our employees. We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty and basically we’re leading by example.
Kurt
: We all work 6 days a week. By being out there almost all hours of the day, wiping and vacuuming cars, whatever needs to get done, our associates see that we’re not afraid to do the work with them. I believe that they appreciate that more and that helps them realize that they’re valued here as well.

How do you promote McKinley Car Wash?

Craig
: The best way our business is promoted is just by taking care of our customers. We donate a lot to organizations for things like silent auctions and fundraising events; from what I’ve heard, it’s always a popular item.
Max
: We don't advertise. It’s basically word of mouth. When customers find us and they like us, they tell other people.

How do you learn from your competitors?

Kurt
: My grandfather and his brothers laid a solid foundation for this business to grow. Even though there are other businesses opening around us, I’ve come to welcome the competition. I get to see what other people do differently and ultimately, it makes us better. It shows us where we aren’t doing things well and where we’re better than others. It’s all a learning opportunity for us.

What is the best part about working with Hawaii National Bank?

Max
: We see them a lot. They're our customers and friends. We trust them. I love that they give great advice.
Craig
: What I like best is our close interaction with them. Their service is like our service; they’re quick to return a phone call, prompt with their answers, whatever we need. In the early 2000’s, the property adjacent to McKinley Car Wash came on the market. We were interested and HNB was right there, making it very easy for us to get a loan to purchase and make some upgrades to our equipment. The property allowed us to create a safer place for safety checks, car detailing and a lunchroom for our employees.

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