LIHUE — The Safeway store in the Hokulei Shopping Village is actually located in the ahupuaa of Nawiliwili, said Kumu Sabra Kauka on Thursday during the blessing of the new store.
Kauka completed the ceremony with the help of her Island School fourth-grade students who performed an oli at the groundbreaking, and presented another oli now that the store is completed.
“I’m really excited to open this store,” said Lesah Merritt, store manager and a Kauai native who rose through the ranks of Safeway. “I’m going to try and go home early today because we open the doors at 6 a.m. (today), and you never know what needs to be done before that.”
Safeway employees were joined by vendor representatives and other Safeway dignitaries in blessing the new store, which occupies 58,000 square feet of retail space in the shopping center. It was described by Safeway District Manager George Glukeld as one of the most anticipated store openings since Safeway started doing business in Hawaii in 1963.
The store at Hokulei Village is the 22nd Safeway store in Hawaii, the second on Kauai, and will bring 146 new jobs to Kauai.
“This is wonderful,” said Hana Montgomery. “Whenever we heard of traffic in Kapaa, that meant we couldn’t go shopping. Having a Safeway here in Lihue is wonderful, especially for all of us on the Westside.”
The 24-hour store will feature fresh fruit, a sushi bar, an olive bar, butcher’s block meats, a pharmacy, a Starbucks Coffee counter, and a Bank of Hawaii branch.
Bank of Hawaii will host its grand opening celebration starting at 8 a.m. today. Festivities in Hokulei Village start at 2 p.m.
Supercuts will celebrate its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Safeway Foundation will celebrate the opening by donating $7,500 to three Kauai nonprofits — the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, the Kauai Junior Lifeguard Association, and Hale Opio Kauai.
“We’re excited about the role Hokulei Village will play in the community for many years to come,” said Alex Liftis, executive vice president with Terramar Retail centers.