2012 Founders & Visionaries
(page 4 of 5)
Giving their customers a personal touch
Owner, Bill Ogawa outside of his new Nimitz location.
When someone utters the words Battery Bill, the catchy jingle immediately comes to mind. Released five years ago, the Battery Bill song was written by customer and renowned musician Audy Kimura. “One day, he comes in and says, ‘I’m going to write you a jingle,’” says owner Bill Ogawa, also known as Battery Bill.
Although the song has been around for five years, the business has been around much longer. Opened in 1988, Battery Bill began as a battery shop specializing in automotive batteries. “Soon after that, the big-box stores came in, and we lost a whole bunch of business,” Ogawa says. “So we had to change. That’s when we became market-driven.”
Ogawa recalls expanding his product line based on customer request. “Customers would come in and say, ‘Do you have a battery for this?’ and we would say, ‘Next time you come in, we will.’” And that same mentality has carried through to today. “If customers need a battery that we don’t have, we’ll bring it in.”
The automotive batteries that once dominated the inventory are still there, but now they are joined by batteries for just about anything that might require them: watches, ocean liners, cell phones, cameras, laptops and full-on computer-backup systems, to name a few. Expanding the product line has been proven to be a good decision. The once-one-man shop has since grown to encompass two locations and a seven-man team.
While seven team members may seem on the small side, that’s exactly what Ogawa wants. It remains a big priority for him to retain the company’s “Mom and Pop” feel. “If somebody comes in and asks for advice, it’s not like we are trying to sell them something. We try not to sell. We are just here, and we are here to help,” he says. “As long as we stay kind of small, we can do that. It’s not mechanical. There is a personal touch that we try to instill and give every customer that comes in. It’s a genuine approach, and a warm feeling kind of thing. We have a lot of love for our customers.”
Retaining the intimate feel of the company doesn’t mean Ogawa is content with settling. He’s already got plans in place to expand. “We are going to be adding an online store very shortly,” he says. “Our website is going to be tremendously modernized, and I’m hoping to open up another store next year.”
Battery Bill’s LLC
960 Ahua Street, #102
Honolulu, HI 96819
550 North Nimitz Hwy #1A
Honolulu, HI 96817
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