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Landmark Papaikou store to close its doors

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HILO >>A landmark Papaikou store with ties to the community over more than nine decades is shuttering its doors.

Pinky’s, which stands out for its melon, blue and hot pink color scheme, as well as its inventory of toys and fireworks, will close Saturday

Owner Colleen Aina tells the Hawaii Tribune-Herald  “it’s just time” to close.

Owner Colleen Aina said “it’s just time” to close. 

“It’s been 25 years that I’ve had this company,” she said.

Her grandparents, Tsukomo and Ume Hironaka, founded T. Hironaka Store, a sugar plantation store, at the location in 1921.

“They ran it from 1921 to ’60,” she said. “Another family, the Morigakis, ran it from 1960 to 1988. After some planning and buying and stuff, finally Pinky’s was born May 26, 1989.”

Aina previously worked in retail merchandising, advertising and marketing. When she started Pinky’s, she copied a color scheme from a business in New Zealand.

Her business also featured a memorable motto and jingle: “Cheap, cheap, cheap! Plenty, plenty, plenty!” to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”

She tried to make Pinky’s a traditional convenience store but expanded.

“I wanted to do something a little more exciting. I started carrying toys. I did Pokemon, the craze with the cards and the toys. I sold the Razor scooters when they were in. I did the fluttering butterflies. They were these butterflies made in China, hairpins and stuff. I sold them for 99 cents. Everybody else was selling them for 10 bucks.”

A few years after opening, she started selling fireworks. At a time before permits were required, the proved popular.

“The customers would sit here and wait patiently for the delivery to come, and they would even help us offload the delivery truck, in order to secure their 200-thousand. It was funny.”

When the county started requiring permits for fireworks purchases, Pinky’s was the first to sell paperless fireworks.

She plans to reopen Pinky’s from Dec. 26 to New Year’s Eve to sell fireworks one last time.

“We want to go out with a bang,” Aina said.

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