By Kyle Galdeira
As a third-generation family-run company, Tropical Wholesale remains dedicated to its neighbors, and focused on bringing beautiful results to local residents at the lowest possible prices.
Tropical Wholesale has performed more than 20,000 jobs for local residents and business owners over the years with a dedication to its core mission: serving Hawaii’s local community with quality materials and stellar workmanship at a reasonable price.
The local business has served Hawaii residents for nearly 40 years with deep roots going back to 1961. With the versatility as a respected general contractor, Tropical Wholesale specializes in roofing, vinyl siding, vinyl windows and age-in-place bathrooms, as well as patios and home remodeling and construction.
Tropical Wholesale’s presence in the islands dates back to 1961 when owner Matthew Houar’s father and uncle started Hawaiian Improvement Corp. with a catchy slogan that stills rings true today: “Vinyl is Final.” The now-famous catchphrase caught on as the company brought the first vinyl products of any kind to Hawaii for kamaaina residents to use in their homes and businesses.
Houar took over the operation nearly four decades ago after earning his general contractor’s license, and has owned the business ever since with an emphasis on taking care of local people. He and his son Mike offer a no-nonsense approach to products and services, and with four contractors on staff, the company ensures each job is done correctly.
“If it wasn’t for the local people, we wouldn’t be here,” Houar says. “You need to have a genuine heart for the people of Hawaii, and honesty is key.”
Going back to the late 1990s, Houar thought up another slogan, “Buy Local,” which continues to run alongside Tropical Wholesale’s classic “Vinyl is Final.” New and loyal returning customers can visit the Tropical Wholesale showroom at 1351 S. Beretania St., Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Houar explains that the showroom has relocated over the years from Kaneohe to Pearl City and Halawa before relocating to the popular Honolulu location, which allows customers to see product samples and inquire about desired projects.
Tropical Wholesale is known for its expertise in vinyl siding and window installation, and offers the thickest vinyl product made in the world. The company is also the lone contractor that purveys vinyl windows through Costco. The licensed, insured and bonded general contractor has worked with thousands of homeowners on Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Kauai and Hawaii island, and the Simonton windows and doors it installs are routinely voted No. 1 annually by J.D. Power and Associates for customer and builder satisfaction.
Tropical Wholesale is also adept at tub-to-shower conversations, and its age-in-place business has become a leader in the residential market with 12 to 15 baths installed every month.
In the late 1980s early ’90s, Tropical Wholesale was the largest residential metal roofing company in Hawaii. After focusing on and building its vinyl facet of the business, the company has re-entered the roofing market because Houar recognized the need for a reputable company to perform quality work that will last for decades.
Hawaii residents should prepare their homes for what is expected to be a busy hurricane season. It has been nearly three decades since Hurricane Iniki ravaged Kauai in 1992, and Tropical Wholesale is standing by to help homeowners protect their families and housing investments.
“Hurricanes are not nice to anybody, and I’ve been here through Iwa and Iniki, and on Kauai, we had installed more than 100 all-metal roofs and those remained intact during Iniki,” Houar says. “Everybody’s family at our business, and we do everything in house with the ultimate goal of taking care of local people.
“Some of the mainland companies prey on our elderly population, and ‘hard closers’ are becoming a disease in the local community. We rise above the ‘dirty market’ as a consummate local company, so it’s important to buy local — a phrase that I coined. My approach is to do a great job with a quality product at a reasonable price and protect the local residents.”
Houar reminds both potential and loyal returning customers to “Buy local, and if you’re local, we have a discount for you, so give us a call today and visit us at the showroom — we’ll take care of you as the only real local siding and window business in Hawaii.”