National honor for auto-enhancer
Security & Sound Systems
of Honolulu is the first Hawaii business to win a national Retailer of the Year award from Mobile Electronics magazine.
It is also the only local business to have made the 25-year-old magazine's national finalist lists, where it also appeared in 2006, said President Kent Izuka. He was among its top 12 installers in 2005.
Mobile Electronics "did a write-up on our store that same year and they put me on the cover," the Iolani grad told TheBuzz. It is displayed at the 2131 S. Beretania Street store.
To be in the top 12 is "a big honor," but to have the shop win a top prize is huge for Izuka and his three employees.
The magazine seeks nominations from manufacturers' representatives and publishes names of 50 retailers and 100 installers, encouraging readers to vote.
The top 12 vote-getters submit binders of information for review by judges who determine the winners.
The magazine usually presents awards to an installer, a single-store operator and large, medium and small chains. This year's retailer awards went to two single stores and two small chains, as no medium or large chains were in the top 12, "but they still wanted to give four awards," Izuka said.
To Izuka the award means "we're doing something right and we want to continue going in the right direction. It makes me even more so want to drive and succeed and live up to the name. I'm very excited."
"He plans improvements for this year's 20th anniversary.
Lance Mashima established the business in 1998. "I joined him in 1992 and I took over in 1999," Izuka said.
Audio and security systems and reversing sensors are among its most popular products, but GPS installations for fleets are rising. It allows vehicle tracking from a computer or Web-enabled mobile phone, so an employer can see when a vehicle sets out, where and for how long it stops and if it is speeding.
"It's like the boss is riding in the car," to make sure the driver "isn't gallivanting," or taking "the scenic route," Izuka laughed.
It can also tell parents where their young driver is.
The shop recently introduced night-vision technology, allowing a driver to see what's ahead in pitch-black conditions.
Starting at $3,500, it is pricey, but he has a job lined up.
"Pimp My Ride"-type installations are the cool part of Izuka's business.
The not-cool part is that columnists and others grumble to him about jerks who abuse us by blasting thumping bass tunes for all to "enjoy" how "cool" they are.
Brah, not even.
"I understand that part, how it's annoying," but volume violators do get tickets, he said.
The isles have received varied recognition lately, and Izuka sees the award as another "cool way to show the mainland that Hawaii doesn't take a back seat."
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com