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Friday, December 19, 2014         

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Tea sale/giveaway a test of Honolulu's honesty

By Erika Engle

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You can get yourself a free bottle of tea today and tomorrow, or you can help Honolulu get a good honesty rating by paying $1 for it.

A publicity stunt by Maryland-based beverage maker Honest Tea is being billed as a social experiment -- as it will test the honesty of Honolulu residents. Naturally, it also will drum up buzz about the company and its products, as evidenced by this column item.

Honest Tea will erect a pop-up "store" from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. offering its drinks on the honor system -- today at Kapahulu and Kalakaua avenues and tomorrow at King and Bishop streets downtown. Pay a dollar and that's an honesty vote in Honolulu's favor. Take it without paying and you besmirch our beauteous borough as a haven for schmucks.

Honest Tea will donate all the money it collects over the two days to the Hawaii Community Foundation.

The company's done this before, and thus far Bostonians are the most honest, at 93.3 percent, followed closely by (shocker!) Washington, D.C., at 93 percent, San Francisco at 91 percent, Atlanta and New York at 89 percent and Chicago at 78 percent. In Los Angeles, which was next in line, only 75 percent were honest.

Hundreds of gigs at youth retailer

Youth apparel and accessory retailer Forever 21 will stage a three-day job fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow, Friday and Saturday to fill roughly 200 positions at its new Waikiki flagship store, including sales and stock associates, head cashiers, visual managers, visual merchandising managers, assistant managers and co-managers.

The value retailer will open Oct. 9 in Royal Hawaiian Center, said Larry Meyer, executive vice president. The fair will be held at the Level 4 Nightclub and Ultra Lounge at Royal Hawaiian Center.

The 42,500-square-foot store will be the largest single retail store in Waikiki, as Macy's is considered a department store.

It is nearly five times the size of Forever 21's 9,400-square-foot Pearlridge store, "comparably larger than the Ala Moana store," and on Maui the store in Kaahumanu Center is about 6,600 square feet, he said.

Royal Hawaiian Center has historically featured high-end fashion and accessory retailers, but "we go where the store concept can fit," Meyer said, noting a trend of "general consumer stores" moving into traditional high-end retail centers in Ginza, in Tokyo, along Fifth Avenue in New York City, as well as other locations. "We're happy to provide those choices to all types of visitors in Waikiki."

Many companies overhire initially, but Meyer said a downward adjustment of staffing would be unlikely. "We probably need 200 people on our roster to make sure we have the adequate staff to service the demand that we expect."

Flicks for sale as blockbuster closes

Blockbuster Video in Koko Marina will close Sept. 19, leaving 13 stores on Oahu. The company has closed stores as the movie rental business has changed due to increased competition for consumer eyeballs.

The Hawaii Kai location is holding a clearance sale. Meanwhile, suitors are stepping forward to take over the 6,600-square-foot space, according to leasing agent Steve Sofos of Sofos Realty Corp. It is possible the space could be divided between two tenants, but "nothing is concrete at this point," he said.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.

 






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