Since 1937, Island Fender has been providing high-quality collision repairs to Honolulu, Hawaii and the surrounding area. Utilizing the latest technology in collision repair, framework, alignment and painting, Island Fender offers superior workmanship and service. According to owner Van Takemoto, the key ingredient to his shop’s success is his involvement with AkzoNobel’s Acoat Selected Performance Group. He shares, “The Acoat Selected Performance Group helped me build my body shop from $50,000 monthly sales to $250,000 and increased our net profit. With the profit generated from the shop, we were able to invest in the real estate instead of paying rent. Over the years, the cash flow from the shop and real estate investments have continued to increase.”
Takemoto’s father, Takeo, and uncle, Harry, founded Island Fender over 80 years ago, beginning their auto body business by repairing cars in the garage behind their house. Van Takemoto began working in the shop when he was in school; he began running the business in 1980, officially assuming ownership in 1992.
In the early 1980s, Takemoto attended the International Autobody Conference in Stuttgart, Germany as part of his ongoing efforts to ensure Island Fender performs the safest repairs possible. After the conference concluded, AkzoNobel hosted a tour, taking U. S. attendees to Holland to introduce their Sikkens paint line. It didn’t take long for Takemoto to realize Sikkens was the missing component to running a more successful collision repair business.
Takemoto recalls, “At that time, the industry was using lacquers, and the more progressive shops were using acrylic enamel. Sikkens acrylic urethane was so much better and more advanced than anything else available in the United States at that time. I knew it was the right fit for Island Fender.”
During the trip to Holland, AkzoNobel also took attendees on a tour to visit Acoat Selected shops. Takemoto believes, “Acoat’s business consulting for body shop customers was such a great concept for successful, well-managed body shops. I knew then that Sikkens was the partner I needed, not only for the quality of paint, but more importantly for their Acoat Selected Performance Group that develops the management skills necessary to grow my business.”
Island Fender boasts a 9,000 square foot production space where its 11 employees repair damaged vehicles, but the shop’s emphasis on safe and proper repairs is what makes it stand out from other shops in the area. The shop is OEM-certified by over a half dozen manufacturers, and the technicians performing the repairs are also educated on OEM procedures and certified accordingly.
“Vehicle technology is moving at an exponential rate, making collision repair much more complex and requiring technician training and OE repair research on every repair,” Takemoto says. “At Island Fender, all repairs are done to OE repair procedures. OE research is done on every repair, and we save the documents for our repair file. Pre and post repair scans are conducted on every repair, and no aftermarket parts are used.”
Looking forward to the future of the collision repair industry, Takemoto predicted, “OE repair procedures will require substantial investment in equipment and training. As we move forward, there will be fewer shops able to make the investment to repair the cars of today and the future.”
Takemoto also believes that it’s important to monitor outside factors that impact the collision repair industry which is why he stays involved with his local association, the Automotive Body and Painting Association of Hawaii where he has served as a past president. He also assists with lobbying activities to ensure that new legislation will not have a negative impact on the Hawaiian industry.
Island Fender also takes its role seriously when it comes to protecting the environment for future generations. The shop invested in skylights, eliminating electrical lighting 80% of the time. Additionally, Island Fender’s painters spray with Sikkens Autowave® waterborne paint system, which delivers excellent color accuracy, ease of application, superior coverage, fadeout and cost effectiveness, allowing shops like Island Fender to contribute to the conservation of the environment without sacrificing quality and customer service.
“Being the first shop in Hawaii to start using Sikkens, we were able to deliver a much higher quality paint finish than our competitors,” Takemoto says. “Sikkens was so much better than what existed in the U. S. market. It was night and day. Both quality and productivity at Island Fender increased greatly. My employees love Sikkens’ Autowave paint system.”
Still, Takemoto feels that the largest impact to Island Fender results from his decision to join AkzoNobel’s Acoat Selected Performance Group. He adds, “We would not be where we are today as a business without the support that we have gotten from AkzoNobel in terms of both product development and the availability of technical and business support.”
Location: Honolulu, HI
Company at a Glance…
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 11
In Business Since: 1937
Number of Locations: One
DRP Programs: One
Combined Production Space: 9,000 square feet
1845 Maxwell Drive
Troy, MI 48084