Erika Engle

Hawaiian Rent-All
has a new owner,
but the sign is staying

Gordon and Norman Loui have retired and sold Hawaiian Rent-All after running the business for 40 years.

New owner Paul Gibfried was apparently determined to own and operate a business in Hawaii, after another deal for a car rental business on Maui fell through.

The 53-year-old reluctant retiree had sold his Missouri foundry a few years back and was relocating to Hawaii with his wife.

"I was over here, my car was in transport and all my worldly goods ... so I looked around while I was over here," he said.

At the same time, the Louis were looking to sell and a business broker did the matchmaking. The sale price was not disclosed.

An Hawaiian Rent-All employee works on the company's famous Beretania Street sign.

Customers will continue to see the familiar faces of all 10 employees, who kept their jobs. The store hours may change slightly to accommodate contractors and other early-birds needing everything from stump grinders to crutches, baby beds to coffee pots, Gibfried said.

The crucial question had to be asked of the new proprietor.

You know the sign belongs to the public, right?

Gibfried chuckled. "We're going to try and keep that up. It's a lot of fun. We just wish the letters went up there easier."

The reader board marquee, with its ever-changing verbiage, was a highlight for Gordon Loui. "Sometimes they were wacky or off-the-wall, sometimes we'll pick up on a quote, customers would send something they'd like to see, sometimes we improvised to fit the occasion, like Bishop Estate and that kind of stuff," he laughed. He fears a lynching, should Gibfried do away with the sign.

Gordon and his brother established the business as a franchise of United Rent-All 40 years ago, but disassociated 10 years later, continuing as Hawaiian Rent-All. The children were introduced to the business as they grew, but none was interested in taking the reins. The brothers decided to sell the business and move on into retirement.

"We have other things to do," Gordon said. Those activities include hanging out, visiting grandchildren, and spending time with motorcycle and motorscooter hobbies. Oh, there's another matter.

"I can catch up with all the do-it-yourself things around the house," he said.

Denial sought

Big Island broadcaster Hugh "Buddy" Gordon asked the Federal Communications Commission to reject Pacific Radio Group Inc.'s recent purchase of eight radio stations on the Big Island.

Gordon's Hilo Broadcasting LLC has filed a formal petition to deny the transfer of broadcast licenses from Big Island Radio to Pacific Radio. He is a 17 percent limited partner in Big Island Radio and separately owns and operates KHBC-AM 1060, a stand-alone radio station.

The petition largely mirrors an informal complaint filed last month, but is beefed up with depositions from employees affected by the deals, and references news reports (from this column).

Gordon alleges that Maui-based Pacific Radio violated FCC rules at several turns, relating to multiple ownership, unauthorized control of stations, engaging in anticompetitive actions to inhibit or preclude fair competition and making misrepresentations or lacking candor in dealing with the commission concerning its actions as broadcast licensees.

Pacific Radio and Big Island Radio have 10 days from the date Gordon filed to submit a response.

"We're going to reply in a timely manner," said Chuck Bergson, Pacific Radio president and chief operating officer. "I don't really feel like (the petition) has a whole lot of merit."

Another response will be filed within a few days by Big Island Radio, according to CEO Glenn Yee. He is also chief financial officer for Persis Corp., majority owner of the radio company Gordon's father founded.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, 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:


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