POSTED: 02:38 p.m. HST, Mar 28, 2014 LAST UPDATED: 03:41 p.m. HST, Mar 28, 2014
Jay, Jenna, Tyrone, & Stanley – Always a friendly staff to assist you at Kalihi Pet Center
A lot has changed since 1983 when Randy Ogata started managing Kalihi Pet Center. Besides moving from Kalihi Shopping Center to City Square Shopping Center, the company has had to contend with big box pet stores.
“We were so worried we couldn't compete price-wise,” said Ogata.
Surprisingly, customers discovered its prices are still competitive in comparison, often lower than chains.
But it's not just cost that sets Kalihi Pet Center apart. Ogata said being locally owned and operated gives the company the flexibility to order products not in stock, and control what it carries. Besides being a full line pet supply store, the company carries rare and exotic birds and everything from chinchillas and salamanders to guinea pigs and dogs. As for its puppies, many are from clients or clients of the vet clinics that they work with. Before making it into the store, the pups are checked, given their first shots and dewormed by veterinarians to make sure they're healthy and ready for new homes.
The real gem of Kalihi Pet Center, however, is its customer service.
“People buy a filter we don't sell, bring it here and we'll help them figure it out even if it's not our brand,” he said.
Helping others is what also propels Ogata to deliver supplies for some of their oldest customers who can't drive, but have pets. In explaining why he does it, Ogata said, “Because I no longer have a grandma and grandpa. They're my grandma and grandpa.”
Ogata's seen people come and go through the doors of Kalihi Pet Center. One customer he won't forget is a woman who came in after her 16-year-old dog had passed away. She got him from the store years ago, but returned to tell Ogata it was the best companion she ever had.
Things have certainly changed. Ogata should know. He's been at the company since he was 14, volunteering for the store's original owner. But the fact that customers remain and return shows one thing hasn't, Kalihi Pet Center's customer service. His long-time customers may not be kids anymore, he said, but they come back with their own children.
“I feel so old,” Ogata laughed, “because now their kids are coming.”