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◄  Back to Search Results  |  October 26, 2022

Small Business Spotlight: M. Tanaka Store


This month, we’re spotlighting M. Tanaka Store and their co-owner, Lori Koga. M. Tanaka Store was recently awarded the 2022 Family-Owned Business of the Year Award for Kauai County by the Hawaii Small Business Administration (SBA).

M. Tanaka Store is primarily a retail hardware, plumbing supply, masonry supply and sheet metal fabrication business known locally for carrying a "whole lot of stuff." This stuff includes hard-to-find replacement parts for older machinery. M. Tanaka Store has served Kauai businesses and the community for 107 years.

Historic photo of the M Tanaka Store front

M. Tanaka Store is the oldest hardware store on Kauai. It was established in Nawiliwili by Manzo Tanaka in 1915. Their son, Shigezo Tanaka (second generation), took over in 1930 and relocated the business to its present location on Kalena Street. Roy and Arleen Tanaka (third generation) took over in 1971 and expanded the store with a new warehouse, sheet metal shop and new office space, resulting in the company sales floor expanding four times its original size. Lori and Craig Koga (fourth generation) took over in 2021 and continue to operate at its current location. They have added a business website, Facebook page and Yelp page to expand their digital presence.

M. Tanaka Store has managed to stay in business during the most challenging of times. Through two world wars, the closing of brick-and-mortar small businesses, the rise of big chain stores, customer service being replaced by self-checkouts, and most recently with the COVID-19 pandemic, M. Tanaka Store has kept its family legacy alive for over a century.

The Tanakas stayed true to the tradition of treating customers like family, and in return, the community embraced their business as one of their own. Because of the hard work and commitment of each generation of owners, M. Tanaka Store looks forward to seeing the fifth generation taking over one day. Lori and her family hope the passion, dedication, and love for their community will keep the legacy of M. Tanaka Store thriving for another 100 years.

To learn more about M. Tanaka Store, visit www.mtanakastore.com.