WAIMEA — The stock on the shelves was dwindling at Ishihara Market Thursday afternoon as loyal customers dropped by to say mahalo to the Ishihara family for more than 80 years of business in Waimea.
A steady stream of locals and visitors wandered through the door, greeted by associates Cads Samio and Carrie Newcomb, who were striking up conversations with neighborhood faces and newcomers as they went through the checkout lines.
“It’s so sad, isn’t it?” Samio said. “We’re going to miss them.”
While the dry-goods sections still had a somewhat robust selection of canned and dry goods, cold drinks and chilled foods were disappearing as the store prepared for an 11-day closure and re-opening under new ownership.
The store was sold to Kalama Beach Corporation and will reopen Aug. 7, with a wider variety — especially in the meats section, said Darren Curammeng, assistant manager.
“It’s the last day,” he said, looking around. “There’s more people coming through than we expected, but the hotels in Poipu are full.”
It was an even mix of visitors and locals coming through the door, some on the hunt for a deal and others looking for something specific.
Kilileo Alquiza, who dropped by with her mom, was there for one of the market’s most popular dishes and was disappointed that their selection was already wiped out.
“I’m sad there’s no poke bowls,” she said as she went through the line.
She cheered up when she realized the store was reopening with a few more options in less than two weeks. The timing got even better for Alquiza when she found out the date for reopening is Aug. 7.
“That’s the first day of school,” she said.
It wouldn’t feel like the first day of school in Waimea without musubi from Ishihara, she said.
“We’re all staying, so you’ll have the same cooks, the same kitchen, the same guys prepping food,” said Curammeng.
The grocery store employs 50 people.
In between reminiscing with customers about the history of Waimea’s Ishihara Market and commiserating with those who voiced sadness at its changing hands, Curammeng assured the market would keep that close ohana feel.
“It’ll still be Ishihara,” he said.
Samio and Newcomb said KBC is keeping them busy over the closure, and they’re both looking forward to Aug. 7 when they can welcome the community back through their doors. “We’ll see you then,” Samio said.