2008 SmallBiz Success Awards

2008 SmallBiz Success Awards

(page 3 of 8)

Dan's Guitars                   

Dan Takamune, owner, Dan's Guitars

Dan Takamune, owner, Dan's GuitaRs



Dan Takamune, owner of Dan’s Guitars, doesn’t toot his own horn. Customers who are serious about music naturally flock to his store, located on the corner of busy Beretania Street in Honolulu, for their guitar needs. Clients run the gamut from local musicians to international artists from Japan and the U.S. mainland.

Dan’s Guitars offers a wide variety of high-end new and used guitars, amplifiers and music accessories. Daily guitar lessons are held in a soundproof room at the back of the 12,000-square-foot shop. “We expanded our store by 1,000 square feet in the last year, and we expanded once or twice before that,” Takamune says. “It’s better than getting smaller!”

There aren’t definite plans for another expansion, but one thing is sure: Dan’s Guitars is not about blitz marketing and flashy promotions. In fact, the 8-year-old store only employs two full-time people in addition to Takamune, and annual sales growth has averaged between 5 percent to 10 percent per year. What makes Dan’s Guitars successful, despite its low-key nature, is its ability to draw loyal clients with personalized service – even if it doesn’t involve guitars. Recently, a first-time customer asked for help in building a sound system for an event. Dan’s Guitars obliged. The result? A new, loyal customer.

- Cathy S. Cruz-George

Jack's Diving Locker        

Jacks Diving Locker

Teri and Jeffrey Leicher, co-managing partners, Jack's Diving Locker


Starting with one boat, a 240-square-foot location and $20,000 in sales in 1982, Kailua-Kona-based Jack’s Diving Locker today is a $3 million operation with two stores, five boats and the state’s only
12-foot-deep dive pool. It is a full-service dive shop offering kamaaina and visitors all levels of instruction, from introductory dives to instructor certification.

Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, co-managing partners (and husband and wife) Jeffrey and Teri Leicher have seen Jack’s garner many retail awards, including Scuba Diving magazine’s Best Dive Operator First Place Award for top-of-the-line instruction in swimming, snorkeling, scuba equipment sales and service and customized boat tours to more than 80 exciting dive sites.

“What we’re really proud of is incorporating the protection and preservation of Hawaii’s ocean resources into our professional and volunteer work,” says Teri, whose company’s community activities include Organizer of the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup and Official Dive Shop for the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

The company received the 2005 State Legislature’s Hawaii Living Reef Award for the Ocean Recreation Division and the 2001 American Red Cross Hero of the Year Award for Marine Environment. In the future, the company plans to create a nonprofit Ocean Center to expand its marine education programs, including scholarships for children.

- Gail Miyasaki

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