Rearview Mirror: Retail giant Gem had lasting impact on Hawaii
By Bob Sigall / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Oct. 20, 2023
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STAR-ADVERTISER / 1978
Gem store manager Bill Rutter watches store employees dismantle a sign announcing low liquor prices. The “sale” was halted when liquor commissioners arrested a store vice president for selling liquor at lower than minimum prices allowed under state law.
Glenn Kaya stands in front of the Ward Avenue GEM, which opened in 1962. Other stores were in Kapalama, Kaneohe, Waipahu, Hilo and on Kauai.
GEM brought in costumed characters such as Fred Flintstone and Huckleberry Hound to draw customers to its stores. It also brought celebrities such as Debbie Reynolds, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers (of TV’s “Leave It to Beaver”) and their families.