Photo: Olivier Koning
At 400 pounds, diabetic but determined to exercise to improve his health, Larry found his old department store bicycle in need of repair. He took it to Eki Cyclery, Hawaii’s oldest and most experienced bike store. Third-generation owner Jayne Kim and her husband, Jay, got Larry’s bike working and thus began an ongoing relationship. The Kims kept fixing Larry’s old two-wheeler and he kept riding it for exercise. Two years later, 200 pounds lighter and off his meds, Larry has turned his life around, "kept his weight off and continues to bike," says Jay Kim proudly. The Kims have many stories like Larry’s that they say account for why this small, neighborhood store has been around since 1911, when Jayne’s immigrant grandfather, Toichi Eki, opened a small bicycle shop to meet Honolulu’s growing demand for inexpensive, urban transportation. Succeeding generations guided the family enterprise into a professional business by focusing on quality products and services, increasing sales and keeping a tight rein on finances. As a longtime Hawaii business, Eki Cyclery has weathered its share of economic ups and downs, including the opening and closing of an Ala Moana Center store, purchasing its 15,000-square foot Dillingham store, modifying its inventory mix to meet changing consumer demands for foreign and racing bikes in the 1990s, and accommodating Jayne’s father’s sudden stroke, after which the former schoolteacher assumed management of the business.
Third generation owners Jay and Jayne Kim continue their 98-year-old company’s focus on its niche market and keep a tight rein on finances.
Today, the company focuses on its niche market of family recreational cycling. A full-service Raleigh dealer and one of the oldest Schwinn dealers in the United States, Eki Cyclery also offers other name-brand bicycles, children’s tricycles, bike parts and accessories. It actively participates in community cycling activities, including the Bike Education Program, established in 1987 to teach bicycle safety to fourth graders, which has served more than 84,000 Island youngsters. "Our success really comes from our relationships with our customers, employees and suppliers," says Kim. "We don’t care what kind of bike you ride. We’ll take care of it."
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