Precision Radio closes its doors after drop in sales
For decades, Precision Radio has been the go-to place for electronics. And now, the hard-to-miss green building is closing down.
HONOLULU - It's hard to miss the green building on South King Street.
For decades, Precision Radio has been the go-to place for electronics, offering everything from meters to television tubes.
The company was founded by Dorris and Harris Tarumoto following the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor. Harris ran a fishing supply store. In fact, he was out fishing when the Japanese attacked.
“By the time he got home, the MPs where there already," said Milton Hironaka, Harris' son-in-law. “They interned him because he was a ham radio operator.”
Released after 10 days in the interment camp, Tarumoto decided to go into electronics.
“And it’s amazing because his number one customers were going to be the defense people, and he looks just like the enemy," said Hironaka. “So he managed to call on those people and sell to them. It was his personality. You know his personality was either you like him or you dislike him. You know? The old style.”
Precision Radio first operated at Keeaumoku and King. Then in 1955, it moved to its present location on South King street. Hironaka says they began selling ham radio equipment. Then stereos and basic electronics. They called on the schools and they called on television stations where they sold microphones.
Lona Ohta is Milton's sister-in-law. She has been there all along. First watching, then working for her parents. Hironaka took over the business when the Tarumotos died in 1968.
But we had to ask-- why a green building?
“Number one, we celebrate our company anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day. And number two, the color of money is green!” said Hironaka. “Then it turned out good because customers recognize the location. All they do is look for the green building.”
Buisiness boomed in the 1970s. At one point, they had 15 employees. Now, there are only four. With the Internet, business has slowed down. With no successor and an offer on the property, the family decided it was time to sell. Lona Ohta says it was not an easy decision.
“Hard to say goodbye. Though it is, it’s tough now talking to the customers because they are the customers who their fathers brought them in.”
The sale signs are up. Hironaka expects to close Precision Radio's doors for good in two to three months