The Place For Used Vehicles

Victor Lawson Owner, Garden Island Auto Sales

Please tell us about your business. Garden Island Auto Sales in Lihue is the purveyor of affordable used cars on the island. The vehicles are Carfax-certified, investigated and picked up at dealer auction. Many of them are trade-ins from Lexus or Toyota dealers in Honolulu. Cars in Honolulu keep their appearance a lot better than cars on Kauai. You’ve got people parking in condominium lots there, so a majority of the cars are rust-free. We also specialize in one-owner vehicles and I don’t deal with rental cars. I purchased the business three years ago.

Why pre-owned cars? Less depreciation and a lot more value. I want my customers to pick up a car from me, drive it for three to five years and be able to sell it for close to what they bought it. Before you come to test drive a car, we have mechanics service all of our cars at D&W Services in Lihue. When you buy a car, all you have to worry about is changing the oil every three to six months. If you have any issues, you need to come back and see me.

Why did you start this business? I’ve been selling cars since the 1980s. I was selling furniture in Honolulu, when in 1985 a co-worker recommended I apply for a job in car sales at the Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen dealership. A year and a half later, the general manager from Kuhio Motors contacted me from Kauai and offered me a job. My jaw never dropped until then and if I’d have looked down, it would have been on the floor. An opportunity presented itself to purchase this business many years later, and I took it.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? Delivering the car and satisfying customers, and also having the ability to support charities and schools.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? I find it hard to leave work. Besides a twoday vacation on Hawaii Island, I haven’t left in three years. I have certain goals that I haven’t met yet, and when I accomplish those, maybe I can go somewhere, like Peru.

How often do you get vehicles? We get new arrivals weekly.

How many cars do you have on the lot and has the number increased over the years? When we started in 2011, we had nine cars on the lot, and we were only selling five or six cars a month. Now, we’ve got 45 cars on the lot and sell about 25 to 30 a month.

What makes you get up every day and go to work? I’m happy to have a job.

What are some of your plans for the future? To stay in business. The goal is always to find the best cars available.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I’d be a park ranger sitting up in one of those big towers in the Smoky or Rocky Mountains.

Open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4302 Rice St., Lihue 246-2588
gardenislandautosales.com

-Coco Zickos

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