History of Hardware Hawaii
The history of Hardware Hawaii begins with the fascinating story of Lyndale Hardware, co-founded in 1941 by R. Dana Lundquist. Dana was the son of Swedish immigrants, raised in very modest circumstances. Dana wrote in 1991, “My partner, Ralph Gilbertson, and I opened that store for business on Saturday, December 6, 1941, one day before the attack on Pearl Harbor. With $1,000 each of borrowed capital, we had built a 1,800 square foot building in the Village of Richfield, a sparsely populated suburb of South Minneapolis . . . whose population growth soon greatly exceeded what we had anticipated . . . We had bargained for some used fixtures . . . and a St. Paul hardware wholesaler, Farwell, Ozmun & Kirk staked us to an opening stock order, and remained our principal supplier during the forties, when our phenomenal growth and enviable reputation were often noted in the hardware trade magazines and local publications. With generous assistance from the Minnesota Historical Society and others, our innovative anniversary sales drew people from a hundred miles away to see our colorful display of animals, antique cars, the village fire department, and available dignitaries. Our employees and customers dressed according to our various themes such as “Western”, “Pioneer Days”, “The Gay 90’s”, “The Naughty 20’s”, and others. Criss-crossing searchlights, free food, product demonstrations, and music by popular quartettes, rounded out these annual events.
By 1944 we had purchased all the property in our block and built a shopping center that included a supermarket, bank, dry cleaners, upstairs offices, and a greatly enlarged two-story hardware store.
In 1950 with my wife and four children, we went on a second honeymoon to Hawaii, and fell in love with it. In 1951, we sold Lyndale Hardware and put our roots down in Hawaii.”
1954: Dana and Mary Lundquist found Hardware Hawaii in Kailua. The 2,000 square foot store is located in the middle of Kailua Shopping Center. Gabby Pahinui and his band play at the grand opening.
1957: Before the Pali Tunnels are built, Dana starts Hardware Hawaii’s Contracting Division. Hurricane Dot had blown away many Windward roofs and fences. With a shortage of contractors, customers came to Dana for help. Dana saw the need, knew contracting from working with his uncles in Minnesota, and quickly got his contractor’s license. He hires Puerto Rican Paniolo from Kahalu’u who will develop into his seasoned crew of carpenters and masons. Dana soon becomes President of the newly formed Windward Contractors Association.
1968: Dana moves Hardware Hawaii from the middle of Kailua Shopping Center to the 2,000 square foot former Stewart’s drug store at the north end of the Center.
1970: Hardware Hawaii’s Contracting Division builds the new north wing of the Kailua Shopping Center including increasing Hardware Hawaii’s retail footprint to 4,000 square feet.
1971: Dana welcomes his son, David, to join Hardware Hawaii. David soon becomes lumber manager in 1972 and then general manager in 1976. David designs and builds a catacomb of interior lumber bins into an old 3,500 square foot adjacent storage shed. The resulting space for clears, molding, plywood, fencing and decking, redwood T&G, and other lumber basics proves an important resource for the rapidly growing contractor community in Windward Oahu. This paves the way for Hardware Hawaii’s soon to be super growth in the lumber business.
1978: David designs an outside lumber racking system encompassing the entire back and sides of the Kailua Shopping Center. Hardware Hawaii is able to carry every size of plywood and lumber from 8’ to 24’ in full units, in a compact area. This allows for quick service, unheard of in the lumber business, and all the more amazing coming from a single, small 4,000 square foot hardware store.
1981: Upon Dana transferring majority ownership to son David, David becomes Hardware Hawaii’s president and Dana assumes the position of board chairman. David and Dana then work as the Company’s executive team.
1984: Hardware Hawaii Kaneohe opens as a complete lumber and hardware store.
1985: An important new division, Hardware Hawaii’s Lumber Delivery and Distribution, opens in Kaneohe. A multi-acre complex of lumberyard, warehouses, and staging area is located across from the Kaneohe lumber and hardware store. This new division enables Hardware Hawaii to compete island-wide in the construction jobsite lumber delivery business.
1989: Hardware Hawaii Kailua expands to the former Star Supermarket/Walrich Drugs facility after adding three large automated lumber rack buildings and 2,500 square feet of office space upstairs.
1990: David’s brother Barry rejoins Hardware Hawaii as Executive Vice President. Barry had previously worked at Hardware Hawaii during school breaks from age middle school through his college years and, thereafter, during sabbaticals from his life’s calling in Africa. As the new EVP, Barry spearheads the computerization of Hardware Hawaii, revamps the human resources department, and supports Dana and David in all key management decisions.
1993: Hardware Hawaii Lumber Delivery and Distribution moves from Kaneohe to Kapa’a Quarry Rd. in Kailua at the former 3 acre Ameron warehouse and yard facility.
1999: Sadly, Dana Lundquist passes away after a short illness. He leaves an enduring legacy in the Hardware Hawaii enterprise he and Mary created. Dana was first and foremost a family man. Those who knew him well understood that the Hardware Hawaii customer community was as much family to him as his own flesh and blood.
2001: Hardware Hawaii leaps over the Pali to fill the vacuum of Midpac Lumber’s departure from the market. Hardware Hawaii Mapunapuna opens as the largest automated lumberyard in Hawaii, including a full service hardware store and a contractor sales team. Soon after the Mapunapuna opening, Hardware Hawaii becomes one of the largest volume lumber suppliers in Hawaii.
2005: Hardware Hawaii Koloa opens. The facility provides the smallest possible footprint for a complete hardware and lumber store, a prototype for future neighbor island growth.
2006: The new Kapolei Delivery and Distribution Center is developed providing a 7-acre paved lumberyard, automated lumber racks, and a 50,000 square foot warehouse. The Kapa’a Quarry Rd. operations are relocated to Kapolei.
2012: The new Hardware Hawaii Kapolei store opens serving contractors and Leeward residents. Larger than the Kailua flagship store, this new store is located adjacent to the Kapolei Delivery and Distribution Center.