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Tuesday, September 23, 2014         

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Foodland gives way to new drugstore

Walgreens will move into the Hawaii Kai space the food store has held since 1963

By Kristen Consillio

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After nearly five decades at Koko Marina Shopping Center, Foodland Super Market Ltd. will close its store there July 10 to make way for a Walgreens.

The state's largest grocery retailer with 32 stores said it had worked diligently to renegotiate its lease during the last several years but failed.

"Unfortunately, our landlord has made the decision to lease our space to another retailer," Foodland said in a statement Monday.

All 54 employees at the Hawaii Kai store will be offered jobs at other Foodland stores.

Foodland was Hawaii Kai's first supermarket when it opened in 1963.

"The closing of a store that has operated for nearly half a century is very difficult for us," said Jenai Wall, Foodland chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. "As a local company that truly cares about the communities it serves, we are devastated to have to leave this community after 47 years. Our customers are like family to us, and we will truly miss serving them at this store. We want to thank them for their patronage and support throughout all these years."

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shop connected to the Foodland in Hawaii Kai will also close July 10.

"Everyone in the market this morning was very upset," customer Jane Nakai, a Hawaii Kai resident for more than 40 years, said Monday.

"We go there all the time, so we know the people and you could tell something was wrong today. Koko Marina's management should have had the decency to put it out in the community so we could have a voice in it — we know what we need.

"As local people we try to support local businesses, and I know Foodland is such a big supporter of the local people, local farmers and merchandise," Nakai said.

Walgreens plans to open its 12th store in the state at the Hawaii Kai location early next year after renovations, sharing the space with an undisclosed retailer.

Walgreens is also building a store in Wahiawa on the corner of Olive Street and Kamehameha Highway slated to open late next year, according to Walgreen spokesman Robert Elfinger.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based drugstore chain has said it plans to open between 25 and 30 stores in the islands.

The company typically hires between 25 and 40 employees for each location.

A Longs Drugs Store is nearby at the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center.

"We've found a very good location in Hawaii Kai to offer a very convenient pharmacy and retail services," Elfinger said. "We think residents will appreciate what we offer. We compete with other drugstores across the country, and we do very well."






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