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300 residents express anger at losing Hawaii Kai Foodland

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 1:21 a.m. HST, Jun 22, 2011

Some 300 East Oahu residents expressed anger Tuesday night at Foodland losing its lease to Walgreens at Koko Marina Shopping Center.

They showed up at a town hall meeting Tuesday organized by Rep. Gene Ward and Sen. Sam Slom at Kaiser High School to hear what the community's concerns were and pass them onto Koko Marina Shopping Center.

Foodland Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Jenai Wall attended the meeting to thank the community for its support over the years.

"We also want to let them know that we worked diligently over the last several years to renegotiate our lease in hopes of remaining in Hawaii Kai," she said before the meeting. "The Hawaii Kai community is very important to us, and we're continuing to work towards securing a sublease with Walgreens."

Some people raised the spectre of a boycott to send a message to the owner of the shopping center or Walgreens, although others objected to boycotting the other businesses at the center.

"The thing that screams out to me is not who is speaking, but who is not," said Robert Frija, who noted Walgreens and the management of the center were not present. "There's not a sense that they're really listening or that they really care."

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