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November 5, 2014

Around the Square: Lanai City Service

Photo of exterior wide shot of Lanai City Service building.

If you drive a vehicle on Lanai, chances are you’re a customer of Lanai City Service. But LCS is frequented by more than just folks in need of gas; customers can also grab a plate of fried chicken wings, purchase Lanai omiyage and find the only stash of Samurai ice cream sold on the island. Lanai City Service is comprised of three businesses that complement one another under one roof — Napa Auto Parts, Dollar Rent-a-Car and the Plantation Store, all of which is run by general manager Rick Gonsalves.

LCS leader on what motivates him

Rick originally came to Lanai more than 20 years ago to help his brother start a tour business. He started working at LCS in 1999, and was promoted to general manager in 2007. On a normal day, Rick can be found doing anything from pumping gas to resolving computer issues, working alongside mechanics and meeting with managers to ensure day-to-day operations are running smoothly.

“I’ve worked at a lot of places, big corporations, and the managers I have here at LCS are the best I’ve ever had,” said Rick. “I believe in the ohana concept — treating my employees right, not just as workers but as a family. We have each other’s backs and work together to get stuff done. Jim and Randy Coons, the owners of LCS, are great at listening to feedback and providing us with what we need, while trusting my managers and I to run the business.”

Having grown up in a rough neighborhood in California, Rick knows firsthand how hard it is for kids to grow up without a strong family presence. He says his life experiences have shaped his views that family is most important. When any of his 50 employees have to pick up their kids or take care of a family member, the rest of the team steps up so that family can remain a top priority.

Rick said LCS’s customers motivate him and his staff to provide the type of great service you’d expect in a small rural town. “They are our neighbors, family members and friends. We’ll be servicing them for a long time, so we need to treat them right,” he said.

Friendly service and support

On an island with just over 3,200 residents, Rick believes the most important thing is treating everyone well, from his customers to his employees. “Everyone on my team has a say. We have a very low turnover rate,” he said. “There are no secrets on an island this small. We’re the only gas station in town, which is a lot of responsibility, so we treat everyone fairly and with respect to earn their trust.”

There’s no doubt that things are changing, both on Lanai and in the industry as a whole. “I’m always looking at how we can improve things, whether in our operations or the services we offer.” One of Rick’s goals for LCS is to keep his mechanics up-to-date on their training. They are also working to upgrade Dollar’s rental car fleet available to visitors.

“With the great group of managers and the team we have, I know we’ll keep moving forward,” Rick said. “I enjoy coming to work every day and feel privileged to be able to serve the community.”

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