KOLOA » A longtime Kauai store and landmark has been sold to an Oahu family that owns the ABC Stores chain.
The Kosasa family bought the Sueoka Store in Koloa for an undisclosed amount, The Garden Island newspaper reported Saturday.
The Sueoka family will continue to operate the store for four years under the terms of the sale. That’s shortly after the store celebrates the centennial of its founding.
The family began searching for a buyer two years ago. They were looking for someone who shared the same core values of family and legacy.
Both families own retail businesses started by first generation Japanese immigrants who came to work on the Hawaii plantations. A news release from the Kosasa family said both families maintain a culture of hard work and ethics that place utmost importance on customer and employee welfare.
Mankichi Sueoka and his wife Yoshi opened the small store in Koloa in 1918. They served the Japanese plantation camp in Koloa but their business extended as far as Lihue and Kealia. They sometimes made home deliveries using horse-drawn wagons.
The store moved to its current location in Koloa in 1933. It’s become a grocery store with fresh produce, meat and seafood as well as a snack shop selling plate lunches and its "world renowned" hamburgers.
"They finally did it," said Lynn Kobashigawa, a longtime shopper, after learning the news on Friday. "We grew up with Sueoka’s. The small mom-and-pops are really starting to go, starting with the closing of Kojima Store."
The Kosasa family also owns Island Gourmet Markets, Island Country Markets, Hawaiian Casuals and Island Favorites.