Best of Honolulu 2004 - Services

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Duane Franklin, BikeFactory head mechanic.

Photo: Olivier Koning

Best Bike Repair

The six bike messengers at Crosstown Couriers put their lives on the line every day, weaving through downtown Honolulu traffic to deliver packages and clocking up to 70 miles each day. Their bicycles have to be in top condition, says co-owner Chris Coleman. Who do they trust for everything from brake adjustments to shock rebuilds? “BIKEFACTORY has the best mechanics—absolutely,” says Coleman. Most mechanics at the shop have more than 15 years of repair experience, says Duane Franklin, assistant manager and head mechanic. Be sure to make an appointment. The store typically has a two- to three-week backlog of repairs. 740 Ala Moana Blvd., 596-8844,

Best Emergency PC Service

One drawback of the computer age is that information can disappear instantly. Power surges, viruses, even a hasty finger on the "delete" key can wipe precious data from your computer’s hard drive. Hopefully you’ve backed everything up, but even if you’re working without a net, there are local services that can help. Hulafish and Supergeeks both offer emergency PC and Mac repair, including data recovery, although their pricing schemes differ. Supergeeks charges $129 for a successful recovery and $50 for an unsuccessful try. Hulafish charges $99 per hour, whether it finds anything or not, and claims most data recovery won’t take longer than one hour. The choice between the two services will divide the optimists from the pessimists. But then, the pessimists probably backed up their data in the first place.

If your hard drive is physically damaged, things get trickier. You’ll have to ship your broken baby to a Mainland-based service such as Drivesavers or Ontrack, where white-coated technicians will take it apart in a clean room to recover data. Costs for this kind of procedure range from $500 to almost $3,000. Supergeeks, 2304 S. King Suite 101, 942-0773. Hulafish Computer Services, 720 Iwilei Road, No. 285, 585-6281.

Photo: michael Keany

Best Library

Been awhile since you’ve gone to the library? It might be because, on average, our state public libraries are open a paltry 36.7 hours per week. Most of them close at 5 p.m., right as you’re getting off work. There is a better choice, though: The University of Hawaii Hamilton Library is open 92.5 hours per week, and closes at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on Sundays. It’s also bigger—3.3 million volumes on the Manoa campus alone, compared with 3.2 million in the entire Hawaii public library system. Then there’s the week-longer loan periods, extensive public Internet stations and specialized holdings, such as the Hawaiian Collection. It’s all available to the public, with one catch—to check books out, you’ll need to pay $60 for a yearly community borrower’s card. The price of a dinner for two, we figure, or the price of a couple of new hardcover books. Not too bad for a library you can actually use. 2550 McCarthy Mall, UH Manoa campus, 956-7205.

Best Idea for Those Old VHS Tapes

You don’t want to toss your old home videos. They’re filled with memories—your wedding, your kids’ birthday parties, that trip to Disney World. But you’ve also got a DVD player, and, from the looks of it, digital is the way to go. Before it becomes impossible to find a VHS player, look under "Video Duplication Service" in the Yellow Pages. There, you’ll find about a dozen businesses that will convert your VHS tapes to DVD and preserve those precious family moments. But it’s not always cheap: Transferring a two-hour VHS tape to DVD can run up to $65 at some places. We found a few more affordable options for you:
Quality Duplication, 1240 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 310, 593-8866: $30.
Studio West Inc. Hawaii, 856 Ilaniwai St., Suite 201, 593-9942: $30.
Rainbow Photo Lab, 661 Keeaumoku St., 943-0276: $28.

Sew Good’s Hyon Chang, Julia Yokomizo and Jessica Chang.

Photo: Guy A. Sibilla

Best Alterations

Where do luxury retailers such as Burberry, Christian Dior and YSL send their clothes for alterations? To Sew Good, owned and run by Korea-born sisters Julia Yokomizo and Hyon and Jessica Chang. "They’re efficient and reliable, and they do very good work," says one store manager. Working on clothes of this quality, they gotta be good. "The merchandise is very expensive," says Hyon Chang. "If I’m working on a $5,000 dress, I cannot miss." 1507 Kapiolani Blvd., Room. 11. 955-4663.

Best News for Pets

Residents who have traveled out of state with their pets have long grumbled about Hawaii’s quarantine program, which required a 120-day rabies quarantine even for returning Hawaii pets. Many pet owners cheered when the Hawaii Board of Agriculture revamped its quarantine program last year, eliminating the 120-day waiting period. There are still several rules that local pet owners must follow to qualify their pets under the new program. Animals must have an implanted microchip for identification. Before leaving Hawaii, the pets must pass a blood test taken no less than 14 days prior to departure. The animal must also receive two vaccinations at least 90 days apart, the second given no less than 14 days before departure. A local veterinarian must also verify the animal’s residency. For details, visit

M. Dyer movers Oliver Valenzuela
and Cezar Pascual

Photo: Olivier Koning

Best Movers

Some apartment building managers will only let M. Dyer & Sons move new tenants in to their buildings. “They’re very meticulous, they wrap up everything carefully and make sure not to ding the walls when they bring things in,” says Faith Naluai at Century 21 All Islands. Each day, M. Dyer does between 25 to 35 moves—local, interisland and to the Mainland, says company president Rebecca Parker. "Our movers go through extensive training,” she says. “They also receive sensitivity training, because relocation is often a very stressful time for people.” Whichever company you choose, Parker says, “make sure it’s a licensed and insured mover, because that offers the client protection.” 98-054 Kuleana Road. 456-4200,

Best Auto Repair

Finding the best auto repair wasn’t simple. We finally ended up asking those in the business, and discovered that many Honolulu automobile dealerships rely on French Wrench Shell to make sure their used cars are up to snuff. Even if you are not an auto dealer, French Wrench will work on your car, but you must bring it in between 8 to 9 a.m. weekdays. French Wrench Shell, 520 Ward Ave., 591-8120.

Best Auto Repair, Self-Help Division

If you’re inclined to work on your car yourself, you should know that the Hawaii State Library has a free electronic database of repair manuals for most American and imported cars since 1954. If, for instance, you should need step-by-step instructions, with diagrams, for changing the breaker points and condenser on your classic 1968 Corvette Stingray, just go to and click on “Other Databases.”

Best Tattoo Artist

When we called tattoo shops around town to ask for the best tattoo artist, the verdict was almost unanimous: Mike Ledger. He’s only been working in Hawaii for about three-and-a-half years, but his reputation for beautiful innovative, large-scale pieces, especially Asian-style body suits, has grown quickly among local tattoo artists. Mike Higuchi from Banzai Tattoo says of Ledger, “He’s the only one who does my tattoos.” If you’re looking for a quick flash piece, you may want to go elsewhere—as his business card reads, Ledger is “for the serious collector.” All of his work is custom-designed, his shop is open by appointment only and his wait list is usually about five months long. For a piece of art that you’re stuck with for a lifetime, that sounds pretty reasonable. 930 McCully St., Suite 203, 945-9797.

Best Tattoo Removal

Not all tattoo artists are as good as Mike Ledger, and we could have told you that “Leilani 4evaz"” tattoo wasn’t a good idea. There is hope, though. The plastic surgery department at the Straub King Street Main Clinic contains not one but three doctors listed in our 2002 “Best Doctors” issue. Drs. Randolph Wong, Robert Schulz and James H. Penoff use a specialized laser to remove unwanted tattoo ink without scarring the overlying skin. Don’t get too excited; this isn’t a license to impulsively tattoo—the treatments can’t remove all tattoos completely, and the cost ($150 to $500 per session) is not generally covered by insurance. 888 South King St., 522-4370.


Best of Honolulu 2004