How to get a holiday tree to Wainiha

LIHU’E — How much effort does it take to get a Christmas tree from Lihu’e to Wainiha?

Toby Searles has the answer:. Place your order early, and borrow a truck.

Cina Dizol, one of the workers at the Lihu’e Big Save store, said Searles placed his order back in July for a big nine-to-10-foot tree that was packed in the container that was opened yesterday morning.

“He even borrowed a truck to come and get it,” Dizol noted.

“I always used to buy my big tree from the Rotary Club of Kapaa, but after they discontinued doing it, I had to find a different place to get a tree for my house,” Searles explained while securing his tree for the long trek to Wainiha.

Rose Tremaine, the produce manager for the Lihu’e Big Save, explained that there are fewer trees in the container this year, due to the fact that the trees are fuller than in previous years.

“There’re about 80 trees less in the container this year,” she noted. “And, when they’re gone, they’re gone.”

Prices for this year’s trees range from $25 to $110 depending on the variety and height, and went on sale when the store opened Friday morning.

Tremaine noted that workers at two of the Big Save stores, the Waimea and Koloa locations, won’t be selling trees, due to lack of space following remodeling.

However, Kapa’a Big Save leaders had about 250 trees available as of yesterday, and the ‘Ele’ele Big Save had about 260 trees to sell.

Tremaine said, “We (Lihu’e) only have 230 trees. We have the least, but we have the biggest.”

Big Save officials noted that, once their shipment is sold, there will be no more coming in.

Trees started selling on Thanksgiving day, as officials at the Kmart store in Lihu’e broke open their containers of specially-priced trees.

Searles secured his tree in the bed of an El Camino, and before departing, checked with Dizol about placing his order for 2006.

The Christmas-shopping season got under way in earnest yesterday, and if the scenes at Wal-Mart and Kukui Grove Center are indicative of islandwide, statewide and nationwide trends, not only was yesterday one of the biggest single shopping days of the year, but it may also be a harbinger of a strong holiday retail season as well.

Before sunrise, the line of people waiting for the doors of Wal-Mart in Lihu’e to open snaked nearly all the way to Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

If yesterday, Friday, Nov. 25, was a barometer for the holiday shopping season upon us, it is already a good season for the folks at Deja Vu and other shops at Kukui Grove Center.

There were parking spaces to be had, but long lines at checkout counters at both Macy’s outlets, Deja Vu, and other stores in the mall.

The mall was crowded with teenage girls, some with their mothers or fathers in tow, some without, and where there are teenage girls, there are teenage boys.

A Kalaheo woman and Hanapepe woman came out of Macy’s with large bags full of bed pillows, joking that “it’s all over,” meaning the ceremonial first day of their holiday shopping season had ended, even though it was only 8:45 a.m.

Up at Ching Young Village Shopping Center in Hanalei, holiday shopping was as laid back as Hanalei itself as store workers set up for sales in the morning, but only a few shoppers were strolling the mall then.

“Yes, it is busier than normal for this time of the day,” said center Managing Partner Mike Ching. “There are several sales on going, and people are out eating and shopping,” he said.

“What I have noticed is, from two weeks prior to Christmas and up to Christmas Eve, our shops here are jammed. I believe that is due to many of the vacationers coming to the Northshore for the holidays.”

  • Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or Associate Editor Paul C. Curtis contributed to this report

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