POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 24, 2010
I was a bad Kailuan and didn't show up for last weekend's protest to grumble about the Target store planned to open in 2012 at the Don Quijote site in downtown Kailua between the Safeway and the post office.
If this was an entirely new structure being thrown up in the middle of the congested business district, that might concern me.
But I just can't see the great affront to the town's character if a 130,000-square-foot department store replaces an existing 116,000-square-foot department store -- especially if the Target is tastefully designed and works to mitigate traffic impact, as promised.
If it's expected to draw more traffic to essentially the same site, it's obviously a more desirable store. What's wrong with that? Target seems a good neighbor in Kapolei and Salt Lake.
With average Oahu gas prices topping $3.50 a gallon, I won't mind not having to drive to town when I need the selection and value of a modern, moderately priced superstore, of which there are currently none on the Windward side.
As for the complaints about Target being a mainland company that will ship profits away from Hawaii, I can't see the greater evil of a Kailua store's earnings going to Minnesota instead of Japan.
Critics say the Target will drive out established businesses, but the businesses themselves are actually split, with just as many expecting the superstore to draw more customers their way.
I don't recall as much squawking about the mainland big-box Whole Foods Market that's going up nearby in an entirely new building. Apparently it's more OK to bring a little piece of urban Honolulu to the country if it's a piece of Kahala rather than a piece of Salt Lake.
I'm all for preserving Kailua's character, but that doesn't mean everything remains forever static. There have been many changes in Kailua in the 23 years I've lived here -- some for the better, some for the worse -- but the town still appeals as much as ever.
I lament the loss of Andy's Drive-In, the Kailua Drive-In Theater, Smitty's Pancake House and Star Market, but I welcome relatively new entries like Morning Brew, Lanikai Juice, Fat Boys and Yogurt Mama.
And I can live with the fact that many of the new eateries and specialty shops thrive because of the visitors brought in by the controversial bed-and-breakfast establishments.
In the name of fairness and domestic tranquility, I should say that my wife totally disagrees with me on the Target/Don Quijote issue -- not because of town aesthetics, but because she enjoys shopping at the Don Quijote and is able to do most of her big-box shopping on the way home from her job in Honolulu.