Cost-U-Less, more than a store …

When I walked into Cost-U-less on Feb. 7. one of my favorite neighborhood stores, I was greeted with the normal smiles and “Hello Kimo, howszit? Great, how ‘bout you?”

Always friendly greetings and the employees know most of the people who shop there on a first-name basis and even if they don’t know you they will afford you a friendly head nod.

I was at the checkout and the supervisor on duty, Beth, exchanged a little talk story. She then told me she had some news for me. I always get paranoid when people say that — Oy, what did I do now? Beth proceeded to tell me Cost-U-Less would be closing for good on March 31. I said, “You’re joking, right?” She shook her head, no. My heart sank. I asked if it was OK to tell others. I did tell many people. I posted on Facebook and to date it was my most popular thread ever with over 400 likes, 300 shares and 200 comments. All comments displaying disbelief, concerns and Oh no’s!

Cost-U-Less is my favorite Kapaa store. I buy most my produce there; in fact, the local produce there is most times less expensive than the farmers market.

Back in 2010 I bought a new couch and easy chair from Cost-U-Less. I asked the manager, Diane, if they deliver. She said they don’t deliver, “But for you, Kimo, my boyfriend and I will deliver to you, no charge.”

They not only delivered the discounted furniture but did all the heavy lifting since I have a bad spine. And not only that, it was such a tight fit it took over an hour of twisting and turning to get that couch into my place.

I offered Diane and Keala Kai a tip for the delivery, I tried forcing money on them. They would not accept anything. They just said to pay it forward. Where do you find this kind of aloha in this day and age?

The Cost-U-Less ohana — I say “ohana” since they are more than a store — will be sorely missed.

To Cost-U-Less management, if there is anything at all as a community that can be done, please let the community know. Is there any amount of money that would keep the store stay open — $50K, $100K? Maybe the community could set up a Go-Fund-Me page and buy Cost-U-Less a year to come around? Let me know, I will organize the drive.

Just wishing and praying for a last-minute miracle. We need you guys.


James “Kimo” Rosen is a resident of Kapaa.

  1. billyjoebob February 19, 2018 2:22 am Reply

    You are going about this all wrong Kimo. You need to get together with the Coco Palms Occupiers and tap their resources. Turn Cost-U-Less into a Squatters Central. That way everything could be free.

  2. Steven McMacken February 19, 2018 4:50 am Reply

    Kimo, if you had bothered to do a little research, you would have discovered that the North West Company in Canada, Cost-U-Less Kauai’s parent company, could no longer sustain the store because of financial losses. It’s as simple as that. So setting up a GoFundMe page isn’t going to help.

    But not all is lost! There’s a Cost-U-Less in Hilo that will remain open. Perhaps you should consider moving there.

  3. Chris February 19, 2018 12:52 pm Reply

    This is terrible news. I shop at Cost-U-Less weekly and had no idea they were closing. Kimo, I checked the North West Co web site and they have a contact information where you can either call or email your concerns. The telephone number is: (204)943-0881 and is located in Winnipeg, Canada or email at: I just sent an email asking them to reconsider the closure, perhaps you and others would like to do the same. Let’s try to save our Island Cost-U-Less.

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