Car rental agency

BYUH alum says she started car rental business to help students and locals see and enjoy places on Oahu and improve their lives

Photo by Sugarmaa Bataa

Zully Davila, a BYU-Hawaii alumnus from Utah, said she started Mahalo Car Share to meet the car rental needs of the community. Davila was saddened to learn that BYUH students had never explored the island outside of Laie because, she explained, students can learn to appreciate Laie’s unique atmosphere by traveling just a time.

As a former BYUH student, Davila said she understands doing things at the last minute and wants to provide opportunities for others to have positive experiences. “I feel like people [in Laie] sometimes miss opportunities because they don’t have the resources to seize those opportunities. For example, she says, while “a car may not seem like a life changer,” it can help people get to their road test, job interview, or doctor’s appointment.

Mahalo Car Share is a car rental company in Laie owned by Davila and his brother, Alex Davila, who currently lives in Utah. Zully Davila said they were reaching out to BYUH students and members of the surrounding community. While BYUH students rent their cars, she said Mahalo Car Share differs in that they offer daily and hourly rates, are reliable, and are self-serve.

A red four-door car parked in front of the water with greenery behind it.

One of the cars that Mahalo Car Share offers for rental.

Photo provided by Zully Davila.

Plus, she said, when someone rents from Mahalo Car Share, they’re not just helping one family, they’re helping the families of five other employees. She said no contact was needed because when customers rent the car on their website, Mahalo Car Share gives them instructions on where and how to pick up the vehicle. Also, if the car breaks down, the company will send a customer service representative with a backup car as soon as possible.

See a need and fill it

Mahalo Car Share’s mission statement states that the company helps the community by serving it as if it were family, and that it provides “car rental services with kuleana (Hawaiian for responsibility )”.

Zully Davila said that Mahalo Car Share has not only benefited the Laie community by providing a means for them to take advantage of opportunities but also created jobs. She said it can be difficult to find a job in Laie, so one of her main goals was to fill that need for a city she loves.

Alex Davila said they have worked hard to earn the trust of the local community by creating jobs and showing that they are reliable and there to serve. Zully Davila said she liked Mahalo Car Share because she knew it was not a selfish business. “This [Mahalo Car Share] performs its function all around. I’m excited to see the future of this one because I see it growing a lot [to] we hope to provide jobs for more people here in the community.

Tyrone Brown, a Kahuku senior majoring in psychology and social work, said Mahalo Car Share helped him find love. Two years ago, he said he had his first date with his girlfriend. “Without [Mahalo Car Share]I wouldn’t have gone to that first date.

When her parents unexpectedly traveled to Hawaii, Brown said, Mahalo Car Share was a blessing because they could rent a car at the last minute. He said one of the ways Mahalo Car Share benefits the community is by not responding to the effects of tourism which would make the rental service more expensive.

The challenges of being a female entrepreneur

Zully Davila said quitting her many previous jobs to focus on Mahalo Car Share was a big step forward. “I threw myself fully, 100% into it. It was very difficult… but very rewarding.

As a female entrepreneur, she says, she is often not taken seriously in the business world, especially in the automotive industry. She said people wonder if she knows what she’s doing because she’s a woman.

Despite this, Zully Davila said, “I was able to build great relationships with many resources for products, cleaners and maintenance.” She expressed her gratitude to those who helped her and is confident in her ability to lead the business.

She said her brother was also her business partner and mentor. She said she was grateful for his expertise to help her navigate those areas she doesn’t know yet. “It’s hard, but if [I] don’t show up, who’s going to show up? [I] just have to do it. … Yes [I] want something, [I] just do it.

Zully Davila expressed how much community support means to her as her business is local and she wants it to be long term. She added that she was grateful to those who rented a car, gave referrals or spread the word about Mahalo Car Share.

Symbolism behind their color choice: Purple

Zully Davila said the company Mahalo Car Share is represented by purple “not only because it’s girly and the company is owned by a woman”, but because the color signifies victory, was the favorite color of the Queen Lili’uokalani and is one of Hawaii’s Royal Colors.

Additionally, she said the color came from an idea she and her brother learned at a workshop. “We learned that purple is the highest color in the rainbow closest to the heavens. It’s considered a very rich, celestial color. That’s where it resonates with us.”

She said the last reason they chose purple is because the root of a taro plant is purple. She said that young taro plants are called ohas, and when there are many together they are called ohana. “There is the symbolism. We want to treat our customers as if they were family.

Zully Davila said customers can book a car through or on Facebook or Instagram @mahalocarshare.