Shops open doors at Kukui Grove Center

LIHU’E — “We’re building, and open,” announced Vitamin World manager Natalie Cota-Garcia.

Originally scheduled to open last week, Vitamin World had to push back their first day of business as construction continued in their shop located in the Kukui Grove Shopping Center across the way from Deja Vu and Genki Sushi.

“We’re busy opening stores,” Cota-Garcia said between helping customers and teaching her staff how to run the cash registers.

A bit down the way, Sweet Pia’s owner Suzanne Pia-Rose was busy putting finishing touches to her Harry Potter display scheme.

“We opened on Sept. 9 with only one- fourth of our stock,” Pia-Rose said. “But, despite that, we had a fairly good opening day.”

Pia-Rose is also pleased with her new Harry Potter design scheme, tied in closely with the upcoming Halloween festivities, noting, “I was surprised that there are people out there that want this. I had a guy buy the broom off the wall because he liked the way the handle went, and I’ve already logged sales for the hats.”

“The Harry Potter merchandise has been the biggest surprise of all,” said Pia-Rose. For those fans, Sweet Pia’s features regular “Owls” from Alivans, a classic wand maker in the United States, and “one can get everything from their very own Wizarding Wand to Hogwarts School banners,” she pointed out.

“Our crack seed just came in last week,” Pia-Rose said. “I wanted to create something that was unique and different than what anyone else was doing on the island, but still felt classic in its approach. Gotta have crack seed, you know.”

“The kids have been real good,” Pia-Rose said. “They come in, buy some candy, and then their parents come in.”

Pia-Rose said she has scheduled an official opening for Sweet Pia’s on Friday, Oct. 28, showcasing a wide assortment of candy, crack seed, and gift items.

Glass bottles filled with treats await those who walk through the doors into a world of classic nostalgia, with the oversized jars containing something from the past and present.

Wax lips share space with Alien Glow Pops, and dried mango sit next to jelly beans of every flavor.

“Yes, there is even a jelly bean flavored like ear wax,” Pia-Rose said.

One of the features being offered by Sweet Pia’s is a gift-basket service, where patrons select items they would like, and Pia-Rose and her staff members create a custom gift basket, or candy bouquet.

Vitamin World’s district manager was scheduled to be on hand for the first day of business, Friday, but Cota-Garcia said he was on a plane heading for Kona, where they are also in the process of opening another store.

On Kaua’i, the Kukui Grove Center store is the first of two scheduled stores, the second one to be located in the Waipouli Shopping Center. This means they are still recruiting helpers, Cota-Garcia said, a sign adjacent to their entrance reinforcing the call for workers.

Cota-Garcia said leaders of Vitamin World run an international organization based out of New York, and are also one of the largest vitamin manufacturers in the nation, manufacturing their own line as well as some competitive brands.

There are Vitamin World stores in England and Canada as well as the United States, Cota-Garcia noted.

She said that leads to value for the customers, as they offer high-quality items at lower prices.

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