Before the late Bob Nakasone got his start in politics, winning seats on the Maui County Council and State House of Representatives, he took a risk. Nakasone and his wife, Ruth, used their new family home in 1973 as collateral for a loan to purchase the hardware division of MDG Supply Inc., where Bob worked as store manager. Take that risk, add a lot of hard work and Ameritone Maui has thrived as a small business with mom and pop roots and with pride as the neighborhood paint store.
“At Ameritone Maui, we don’t just sell you a gallon of paint, we become a part of your home, your family and your community,” said owner Ruth Nakasone. She has seen the ebb and flow of the Maui economy in her nearly 40 years of business. “Though change is inevitable for any business to remain viable, it does not mean we have to change our philosophy,” she said. At the core, Ameritone Maui believes it’s important to take care of its employees and treat them like family. Ruth’s two sons, Byon and Vance; her daughter, Joni McGinnis; and granddaughter, Joy Moleta, are all employed in the family store. Long-time employees include Eric Kuniyoshi, Farley Duldulao, Ernest Pascua and Ed Acidera, also help to staff the two stores — one in Kahului, the other in Lahaina.
McGinnis, who serves as a sales representative, said Ameritone Maui has built its success on treating every customer as an individual. “It doesn’t matter how large or small the paint project is, every job has its challenge and reward,” she said. “We take the time to find out what you’re doing before handing you that gallon of paint.” The business’s individual customer service is exemplified by its practice of keeping records of its customers’ paint purchases and colors. Ameritone Maui also has earned a reputation as being the best color matcher on the island. “Our guys have matched nearly everything from red dirt to that certain green in a leaf,” she said. “So, if you have a difficult color to match we’ll give it a try.”