Business

Lex Brodie’s Pahoa Serving Final Customers Thursday

December 18, 2014, 9:13 AM HST
* Updated December 18, 9:15 AM
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Closing up a tire and auto repair business is different than closing up a grocery or hardware store, or even a gas station.

That’s the challenge facing the team at Lex Brodie’s Tire Co. in Pahoa, located inside the Pahoa Marketplace, a potential target of the June 27 Kilauea lava flow.

“Today was kinda the last day that we took in anything new,” said Josh Porter, co-owner of Lex Brodie’s on Wednesday. “We’re just finishing things that we started with one or two vehicles. It’s not like Ace or Malama Market, where someone can just picking something up, go to the cashier, and pay for it. If I inspect the vehicle and find something wrong, I have to make the estimate, find the parts, wait for the parts, and then put the parts on. That’s just too long of a process to start something new.”

That same theory goes for existing projects prior to the decision to shut things down this week. Completed work is being finished while equipment is being moved and relocated.

“Today, we started relocating our tires,” Porter said. “Tomorrow, we’ll finish relocating our inventory, and once the one or two vehicles left over are complete, then we’ll start removing equipment. Removing equipment will continue through Friday. If we need carryover time, I think safely, we’re okay.”

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Porter came up with a plan to move things out without waiting until the last minute when the lava was expected to arrive near the Pahoa Marketplace.

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“The quickest we were told the lava would reach us at the shopping center was four days from now,” Porter said Wednesday via telephone. “In my mind, I just came up with a timetable that put us completely out of there two days before the quickest it would get there. The reason behind that was I didn’t want to be there still packing if it came there as fast as it could. I wanted at least one day of a buffer.”

Lex Brodie’s Hilo location, located on Wiwoole Street, will receive as much as it can hold in tires from the Pahoa operation. Anything else will be stored in an easily-accessible warehouse.

Another tough aspect of the closure is the effect on current staff. Porter says he will beef up staff in Hilo with some of the Pahoa employees as much as he can.

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“We’re gonna look at scheduling to accommodate as many employees that are willing and able to work in Hilo until we figure out a long-term solution,” Porter explained. “I want to do as much as we can out of our Hilo operation.”

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