Sports Authority coming to Kukui Grove in 2014

LIHUE — Following months of rumbling, it’s official — Sports Authority is coming to Kauai.

“Wow!” said Travis Dela Cruz of Eleele who was just wishing for a Sports Authority Thursday. “Now, I’m excited. There should be a lot of good clothes and stuff.”

Kukui Grove Center announced Thursday the sporting goods store will open in the spring of 2014 in the location formerly occupied by the Sears electronic department.

“We are excited to expand our footprint in Hawaii with the opening of our first Sports Authority store on the Garden Island next year, our eighth location in Hawaii,” said Michael E. Foss, Chief Executive Officer for Sports Authority in the release. “We look forward to providing industry-leading customer service and great value to the families, athletes, and fans of Kauai.”

Jonell Kaohelaulii, marketing manager at Kukui Grove, said The Sports Authority will occupy 42,000 square feet in Unit G00.

“People are excited to see this new addition,” Kaohelaulii said. “The opening of the Sports Authority should have a real positive impact on the community.”

Mary Daubert, county public information officer and an avid runner, said she is looking forward to more options in athletic apparel and gear.

“It’s great to have them,” Daubert said. “We’ve been years with limited offerings in sporting goods.”

William Trugillo of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department and a community coach, said if the store has the variety other Sports Authority stores have, the opening will be good for kids. It will be helpful especially for those playing for the first time, to get equipment they need, without the hassels of online ordering, he said.

Wade Lord, CBRE vice president of consulting and investment services and the Kukui Grove Center general manager, is also excited about positioning Kukui Grove as the leading shopping center with the right mix of merchants.

“To use a sports euphemism, adding Sports Authority to our lineup of retailers is a home run,” Lord said. “We are working hard to bring great retail to Kauai.”

The opening of The Sports Authority is the latest good economic news following announcements for the arrival of Pier 1 in the former Borders Books and Music location, and America’s Mattress, which is currently open in the space formerly occupied by the Borders Cafe.

Shawn Hosaka, Kauai Fire Department Battalion Chief and a baseball coach, said the opening of The Sports Authority is “long overdue.”

“When we have kids travel off-island, the first place they want to go is Sports Authority,” Hosaka said. “This is going to affect everyone. They’re only top gun.”

Cullen Gutierrez of Eleele  said the opening of the store should be good for students in school who are participating in sports.

“We also hope to make an announcement in the next few weeks of another major retailer leasing the location formerly occupied by the Sears appliances,” Lord said.

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

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