City Mill blends family, professionalism

City Mill blends family, professionalism

There are 22 comments on the Honolulu Star-Bulletin story from Apr 13, 2008, titled City Mill blends family, professionalism. In it, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that:

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / [email protected] City Mill Vice President Carol Ai May and President Steven Ai, a sister and brother who run the City Mill chain of eight hardware stores on Oahu.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

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J Elizabeth

AOL

#1 Apr 13, 2008
Keep up the good work and keep Hawaii, Hawaii!!!!!!!! Too many big box stores ruin the flavor of the islands. We like the old time stores, where generations upon generations keep the kama'aina spirit alive and well.
J Elizabeth

AOL

#2 Apr 13, 2008
Mahalo for the super service and friendly workers over the many years being in business. The Ai's have been beneficial to the islands for many years and I commend them their business acumen. Mahalo again!!!!!!!!
Mark Hunsaker CPA

American Samoa

#3 Apr 13, 2008
Congratulations to Steven and Carol. They are talented, experienced, and smart small business owners. Their dedication to their business and employees is exemplary.

Since: Mar 08

Kaneohe, HI

#4 Apr 13, 2008
I worked for City Mill on Nimitz many years ago.

The way I was treated was pure hell. I will never forget the arrogance and racism shown toward me.

Now days with all the competition around them they try to act like loving wonderful people.

Sorry I donít buy it. I was there and knew the family well.

I wish they would stop putting on a show.

I have seen their true colors.
A KAMAAINA

Kihei, HI

#5 Apr 13, 2008
i tend to agree with the first 2 comments.

von, i am sorry you had a bad experience, but there are 2 sides to every situation.

brother and sister ai are doing a great job!!

employees are happy and motivated.

keep up the good work. we try to buy at city mill a lot!
supportkids

San Diego, CA

#6 Apr 13, 2008
Steven called me once to see if my health organization could help one of his employees. He and his sister are a class act. Reminder: BUY LOCAL. Support our local businesses because they are the ones that in turn support our local charitable organizations.

Since: Mar 08

Kaneohe, HI

#7 Apr 13, 2008
A KAMAAINA wrote:
i tend to agree with the first 2 comments.
von, i am sorry you had a bad experience, but there are 2 sides to every situation.
brother and sister ai are doing a great job!!
employees are happy and motivated.
keep up the good work. we try to buy at city mill a lot!
This goes back many years and yes things do change.

I talked with one worker over there that was very young a pretty.
She was a Japanese cheery blossom contestant. She told me that he if her parents knew she was talking to me they would kill her. The family has their pride so I guess you can see how far back this goes. I knew the president and the sister named Chong I believe. They have all passed away. In the Nimitz store they have a bronze statue of the president and that is the one I knew.

Just have a family member say sorry then all will be forgiven. We all came a long ways from those days
jonathan

Kaneohe, HI

#8 Apr 13, 2008
I shop City Mill whenever possible b/c I choose to support local businesses as much as possible. I have ONE major complaint, however. I was informed that "management" mysteriously wouldn't engage in better preventive measures in this case. I would like to see all SPRAY PAINT CANS please be secured behind some type of screened in cabinetry or shelves in order to drastically cut-down the tagger/grafitti thefts from the store. They steal the spray paint cans easily b/c there isn't always someone available to monitor these openly displayed cans.
Otherwise, I have found the City Mill employees to be very friendly and very quick to help me find the products/items I need to purchase.
give me a break

Kaneohe, HI

#9 Apr 13, 2008
I shop at city mill because they have better service, the employees are helpful and generally treat you well.

Try going to a "big box" store, the only problem is "finding someone to help/assist you", and if you do track someone down the usual answer is I don't know, this is not my section.......

Still from Kaneohe.

Since: Mar 08

Kaneohe, HI

#10 Apr 13, 2008
give me a break wrote:
I shop at city mill because they have better service, the employees are helpful and generally treat you well.
Try going to a "big box" store, the only problem is "finding someone to help/assist you", and if you do track someone down the usual answer is I don't know, this is not my section.......
Still from Kaneohe.
It would be nice if the quality was better. Everything from my shopping experience is such a low quality like nails for example that they are useless. When I hit the nail about four times it just melts like plastic. Finally I have to put them into the rubbish can and go down to home depot to buy something that actually works.

Try pricing butane cylinders for a Bar B Q. That is an eye opening. You wonít have any money left to buy food to put on the Bar B Q.
silk

Aiea, HI

#11 Apr 13, 2008
I really respect the fact that this company has survived like they have. Too bad Aloha Airlines management didn't have the same brains to not go "toe to toe" with competition!

Since: Mar 08

Kaneohe, HI

#12 Apr 13, 2008
Itís not brains. Itís heritage.

American people screwed up in that respect. Chinese stick together from generation to generation like City Mill for example.

In America youíre just a number. As an American I have to respect City Mill for that, but they donít have to be so arrogant toward me. I was nice to them and respected them as humans.

Their money went to their head.

Anyway Iíll leave them alone now. I made my point. May the force be with them.
City Mill Employee

United States

#13 Apr 14, 2008
I've been with City Mill for x amount of years. Yes we work as a family. Steven and Carol treat everyone with respect. They know their business,and NO I don't see the success goes to their heads. I enjoy helping customers solve there problem. We are One Team. Were good at what we do. City Mill had a great group of people.City Mill is a great place to work.Also you won't get great service on what we do 7 days a week.
peps

Kahului, HI

#14 Apr 14, 2008
I shop at City Mill because of the great service. Whenever a tenant moves out, I go at City Mill to get supplies for my repairman to fix up my rental properties. James and Frank at the main store are helpful and explain to me what I need.

I am a pack rat and they have a good selection of plastic storage boxes.

Since: Mar 08

Kaneohe, HI

#15 Apr 14, 2008
City Mill Employee wrote:
I've been with City Mill for x amount of years. Yes we work as a family. Steven and Carol treat everyone with respect. They know their business,and NO I don't see the success goes to their heads. I enjoy helping customers solve there problem. We are One Team. Were good at what we do. City Mill had a great group of people.City Mill is a great place to work.Also you won't get great service on what we do 7 days a week.
I was talking about many years ago. Not today.
The owners which are the same family that have long ago passed are my issue.
I said things do change, but itís still the same family and Chinese know more than any one that the family name is so important. If the family wants to carry on the same tradition then they should step forward and speak for their self.
I said my point was made, but it would be nice if the family would step forward. In my mind the issue has not been resolved. This is my opinion and this is the way I feel. I love the Chinese people so there is not race involved here on my part.
Thanks for your dedication and hard work on their behalf just the same. My issue is not with you or any employee
Honolulu Lady

Kapaa, HI

#16 Apr 14, 2008
Steven and Carol have always been hard working people...never arrogant, always humble. They lead by example and work hard for their company and their employees.
I shop at City Mill to support our local business...the profits stay here in Hawaii with the owners and the employees! It all goes back into our local economy...the Big Box stores send their profits out of state!
They hire lots of retirees who have experience in their field. I love going to Kaimuki where the man in the plumbing department knows everything! I can always count on him to tell me what I need to know.
I've checked out the other Big Box stores too, but still like the local style of City Mill! They have so many convenient locations too! Save on gas and shop in your neighborhood! Does no good to spend $10 on gas to save a little at a big box store!
If you are not happy with something at City Mill, be like jonathan and let them know...
We need to all work together in our community to keep it getting better.
Thank you Carol and Steven for keeping City Mill going! We look forward to your new venture.
Oki

United States

#17 Apr 14, 2008
Never cared for their stores but I finally went back to one last week at 6pm and they were already closed. Auwe, what kind of dedication to customer service is that? Their loss..
joviac

Honolulu, HI

#18 Apr 14, 2008
I'd like to share a story that my husband and I always laugh about regarding a visit to one CM store. We were looking at a garden bench but there was no tag on it to show how much it was. We finally flagged down a young man, probably a part-timer to see if he knew how much it was. He stood in front of the bench staring at it, scratching his head, hemming and hawing. After a while, my husband and I looked at each other because it really looked like he was waiting for the bench to telepathically tell him how much it was. It was so funny to us. He never did get the price on it, so we just told him "never mind" and left. But we still like going to CM. The prices are still a little higher than the mainland stores, but sometimes its worth it for the knowledge and information we can get. Hang in there City Mill!

Since: Mar 08

Kaneohe, HI

#19 Apr 14, 2008
joviac wrote:
I'd like to share a story that my husband and I always laugh about regarding a visit to one CM store. We were looking at a garden bench but there was no tag on it to show how much it was. We finally flagged down a young man, probably a part-timer to see if he knew how much it was. He stood in front of the bench staring at it, scratching his head, hemming and hawing. After a while, my husband and I looked at each other because it really looked like he was waiting for the bench to telepathically tell him how much it was. It was so funny to us. He never did get the price on it, so we just told him "never mind" and left. But we still like going to CM. The prices are still a little higher than the mainland stores, but sometimes its worth it for the knowledge and information we can get. Hang in there City Mill!
Cute :)

In Hawaiian itís called
Uku or Uku Lele
Alice

Kaneohe, HI

#20 Apr 14, 2008
Yes I can remember those days also.

With all the competition around them they have to change in how their perceived, but donít expect an apology

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