Need a golf cart? MĀlama LoanS helps Nohokai grow its fleet
Ka Wai Ola March, 2016
By Treena Shapiro
As a production coordinator for “Monday Night Football,” Curtis Colin was responsible for renting utility vehicles and generators all over the country. Once or twice a year, he’d return home to Hawai‘i, working at the Pro Bowl or golf tournaments during the off-season. The equipment he needed for those events could be hard to find. “For production companies coming here, there was just very limited resources and vehicles for them to use,” he said.
Around 2004, Colin got tired of the constant travel and returned home permanently. Production managers who knew he’d moved back got in touch when they were heading to Hawai‘i for work, hoping he could point them toward the gear they needed. He started buying little things they were looking for so he could rent them out.
After about a year, the Golf Channel contacted him. “They needed 30 carts themselves for a golf tournament. “So we provided,” he said. “I went out and bought 30 golf carts and rented them for seven events.” That launched his company, Nohokai Production Services, which rents, sells and services electric golf carts, utility vehicles and generators.
Since its start in 2005, Nohokai has grown to include 120 to 130 golf carts, enough to be able to rent out three 30-cart fleets at a time. The company also has 30 off-road vehicles and 30 generators. Production crews from all the major networks, productions such as “Hawai‘i Five-O,” and “Jurassic World,” as well as festival organizers have turned to Nohokai for their needs.
“We have the largest fleet, so nobody can touch us as far as doing what we do,” Colin said.
For the first couple years, Colin kept his golf carts at Turtle Bay, where he’d originally purchased them. For the past seven or eight years, Nohokai has been head-quartered at the Waikele Gulch Bunkers in underground structures that easily convert into garages.
A Mālama Loan from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs helped Colin grow his company. “We used the money to buy more golf carts to expand the fleet to 60,” which happened to be the new Golf Channel requirement, Colin explained. “They were expanding and they needed more cameras and they needed more carts to get the cameras around, so it was a good fit.” Now Nohokai can offer its services even when there is very high demand, Colin says. For example, when one fleet needs to be shipped to Maui for a golf tournament at Kapalua, carts are still available for
events on O‘ahu.
Colin advises other Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs to consider Mälama Loans. “It’s very helpful, especially with that interest rate, and it’s xed, too,” he said. He recommends that people get their business plans together in advance. Once that’s taken care of, the application process is quite easy, he said. So easy, in fact, that he said, “I’m going to ask them for more money, to expand by another 60 utility vehicles.”
Nohokai Production Services received a third loan on February 8th, 2018 for $100,000 to expand his fleet by 75 carts.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has helped more than 2,000 Native Hawaiian families with low interest loans to build businesses, repair homes and take care of educational expenses. For more information about OHA’s Mälama Loan Program, visit our business loan page.