Change And Grow, Or Else

By Frank P. White Jr.
Wednesday - September 03, 2008
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By Frank P. White Jr.
President for Container Storage Co. of Hawaii, Ltd.

If there is one piece of conventional wisdom I’ve found to be most applicable to running a small business in Hawaii, it is that old observation that, “The only thing constant in life is change.”

After 30 years of operating Container Storage Company here in Hawaii, we’ve seen our share of change. We began the business when our leasing customers wanted to rent cargo containers for short-term storage of various items on jobsites. As word got around, folks began buying containers for more permanent use at warehouses, job-sites, farms and industrial plants.

And that’s when the changes really began.

Customers would come to us with special needs and ask if we could modify their containers before delivery.

“Could you put in a roll-up door?” they’d ask.

Or, “I’d like some ventilation in the container ... could you put in some windows?”

And pretty soon it was, “Boy, it’d sure be nice if I could have lights and electric inside to work with.”

It began pretty much as simply as that. Next thing we knew, we were putting together small office/workshops for people. We welded in roll-up or standard doors, various types of pre-hung windows, air conditioning frames and more custom fabrications than we’d ever conceived of.

And still the uses kept growing. We were making backyard garages, dockside restrooms, shipboard laboratories, military communications centers, heated shelters for telescope personnel, kitchens, break rooms and dozens of other useful applications.

Arman Agodong, Kevin Wainwright, Brian Bonilla, Steve Lorian, Joe Stevens and Johnny Fitimase
Arman Agodong, Kevin Wainwright, Brian Bonilla, Steve Lorian, Joe Stevens and Johnny Fitimase at Container Storage’s new facility at San Island Business Park

And our company grew with the complexity of the projects we completed.

This year Container Storage Company is proud to have been granted our contractors license. This has enabled us to pursue modified container construction projects at a whole different level.

We’ve long been asked to quote on container housing projects and light commercial projects, and now, with the assistance of a very creative architect, Mr. Fritz Johnson, we’re pleased to be hard at work on a new two-story, 3,600 - square - foot office/warehouse project at Sand Island Business Park.

There are many unique aspects to this project, not least of which is that this building is the first permanent commercial facility using refurbished cargo containers as the basic structure. The design also features a concrete slab foundation designed with “pockets” into which the two base containers are locked. The second floor is comprised of five 40-foot-high cube containers that are welded to heavy I-Beams along the perimeter of the building. And everything is designed to meet current mechanical, electrical and energy codes.

Perhaps most interesting of all, though, is the finish package for this project.

The second floor will have a fully insulated drywall interior with a drop ceiling and commercial carpet. Both floors will have fully plumbed restroom facilities and the entire building will be cooled by state-of-the-art split system air conditioners. On the exterior, the containers will be completely hidden by a stucco-like finish and conventional roof system.

Yes, things have certainly changed for us over the last 30 years.

And while not all that changes is for the good, we think that what we’re bringing to Hawaii’s business table is worth looking at.

After all, when you can offer a building solution that is strong, durable, eco-friendly, economical and termite-proof, that’s change that might just be worth adopting.

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