Let the shopping season begin

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Phil Worwa, aka Santa in Paradise, gets the attention of Dena Marie of Washington and Yuki Reiss Thursday during the Kauai Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours gathering at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Cherie Cabading, Yanny Jiang and Sophia Wong of Kauai Partea pass out balloons and favors Thursday in front of their new store at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai farmer ninja Lindsey Haraguchi Nakayama does a segment for Kauai TV with producer Ryan Pointer Thursday during the Afternoon Market at Kukui Grove Center.

LIHUE — What was that farmer ninja doing on the mall Thursday night at Kukui Grove Center?

“I’m dressed like a farmer ninja doing a promotional piece on the Thursday Afternoon Market and the Kauai Made Kauai Grown,” said Lyndsey Haraguchi Nakayama. “This piece will be for Kauai TV (channel 101) and the Haraguchi social media.”

The Thursday Afternoon Market, a collaboration with the county’s Kauai Made program, was just one of the new facets of Kukui Grove Center that more than 100 people attending the Kauai Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours function could experience during their short period in a cordoned-off area of the food court fronting the new mural.

The area was cordoned off because of the refreshments being distributed by Young’s Market. Food was catered from different Kukui Grove tenants, and Frank Cruz provided the entertainment under the new stage lighting and Bose sound system.

Among the audience was Gracie Galiza and her business partner Guga Tosi, owners of Kauai Bakery.

“We have the same baker and the same recipes,” Galiza said. “We’re already taking orders for Thanksgiving and the holidays.”

Doors to Kauai Bakery are still closed, though, and will remain closed until final clearances are taken care of.

Among the Kauai Made vendors and local community nonprofits lining the mall during the Thursday Afternoon street-style market, Yanny Jiang got help from Cherie Cabading and Sophia Wong in distributing balloons and party favors for Kauai Partea, a new venture at Kukui Grove.

“The contractors are still working on the inside,” Cabading said. “These are my friends, and we hope to open before the holidays. But it’s all pending the construction.”

Kauai Partea will have party favors, snacks and bubble drinks as its main offerings, adjacent to the Regis salon on the concourse.

“Holiday shopping should be exciting at Kukui Grove,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, Kukui Grove spokeswoman. “We will have Black Friday with the mall stores opening from 7 a.m. There will be several tenants who may be open Thanksgiving night, but the mall will open Friday from 7 a.m. We will have several seasonal tenants, including Serendipidy and, hopefully, everything will be in order for Kauai Partea and the Kauai Bakery to be up and going.”

Kukui Grove will also highlight Small Business Saturday, bringing attention to a lot of its tenants being small businesses, and capitalizing on the movement initiated by American Express in response to Black Friday.

“This should be a fun day for the family,” McFerrin-Warrack said of the Saturday after Black Friday and Thanksgiving. “The day wraps up with the 25th Kauai Christmas Parade put on by the Garden Island Federal Credit Union and the Kauai Teachers Federal Credit Union. The parade starts at 4 p.m. with the awards being done at 6 p.m.”

The excitement takes place among new upgrades that have been taking place at the mall over the past several months, including the mural that dresses up the wall in the food court, and a special lighting display that will play through the holiday season.

“The ceiling fans are in,” said David Sosner, Kukui Grove general manager. “We are still waiting on the permits to have them installed. We still have the chandeliers coming, and in addition to the new Keiki Korner playground that has received some good feedback from parents, we are waiting to put in a new movie screen that will allow us to have movies.”

New furniture has been placed in the food court area, and its floors have been redone for better appearance and durability.

“We’re still waiting on several pieces to complete this area,” Sosner said. “On the restaurant side of the food court, there will be a 30-foot-long bar which allow our computer users to be able to charge their equipment while using. The bar will allow seating and equipment use. On the frontside, there will be additional seating. We’re also awaiting delivery on more of the raised tables for the food court area. Once done, we should have increased our seating capacity in the food court area by 60 seats.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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