When I walked into Cost-U-less on Feb. 7. one of my favorite neighborhood stores, I was greeted with the normal smiles and “Hello Kimo, howszit? Great, how ‘bout you?”
Always friendly greetings and the employees know most of the people who shop there on a first-name basis and even if they don’t know you they will afford you a friendly head nod.
I was at the checkout and the supervisor on duty, Beth, exchanged a little talk story. She then told me she had some news for me. I always get paranoid when people say that — Oy, what did I do now? Beth proceeded to tell me Cost-U-Less would be closing for good on March 31. I said, “You’re joking, right?” She shook her head, no. My heart sank. I asked if it was OK to tell others. I did tell many people. I posted on Facebook and to date it was my most popular thread ever with over 400 likes, 300 shares and 200 comments. All comments displaying disbelief, concerns and Oh no’s!
Cost-U-Less is my favorite Kapaa store. I buy most my produce there; in fact, the local produce there is most times less expensive than the farmers market.
Back in 2010 I bought a new couch and easy chair from Cost-U-Less. I asked the manager, Diane, if they deliver. She said they don’t deliver, “But for you, Kimo, my boyfriend and I will deliver to you, no charge.”
They not only delivered the discounted furniture but did all the heavy lifting since I have a bad spine. And not only that, it was such a tight fit it took over an hour of twisting and turning to get that couch into my place.
I offered Diane and Keala Kai a tip for the delivery, I tried forcing money on them. They would not accept anything. They just said to pay it forward. Where do you find this kind of aloha in this day and age?
The Cost-U-Less ohana — I say “ohana” since they are more than a store — will be sorely missed.
To Cost-U-Less management, if there is anything at all as a community that can be done, please let the community know. Is there any amount of money that would keep the store stay open — $50K, $100K? Maybe the community could set up a Go-Fund-Me page and buy Cost-U-Less a year to come around? Let me know, I will organize the drive.
Just wishing and praying for a last-minute miracle. We need you guys.
James “Kimo” Rosen is a resident of Kapaa.