Hanalei reopens

  • Monique Rowan / Special to The Garden Island

    Billabong Hanalei Manager Taylor Mayott, left, greets customers Aaron Martin and Emily Blackburn at the Ching Young Village Shopping Center store last week.

HANALEI — Ching Young Village Shopping Center and Hanalei Center shopping center are now open, giving the town a more cheery and uplifting feel to it.

Hanalei, like so many other places in the country, began to feel like a ghost town after businesses shut down resulting from restrictions made to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The North Shore community is just beginning to get back on track, as businesses are looking to recovery financially. Meanwhile, everyone is also seeking a new normal as they begin to do things like work, go clothes shopping and socialize once again.

Kapeka Estrella, manager at Sand People in Hanalei Center, is enjoying returning to work. “It gives me a new perspective at my job. I feel even more appreciative of my job and the customers.”

She is relieved that at last there is a sense of normalcy around town these days following business reopenings. Though there hasn’t been as much foot traffic as she would like, it’s a start.

“People have been walking around more now that the coffee shop (Hanalei Bread Company) is open next door, too, so that helps,” Estrella adds.

Billabong Hanalei at Ching Young Village is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and shoppers can be seen there happily looking around and grabbing items to purchase at the surf shop during the 30%-off clothing sale. Many businesses around town are using discounts on merchandise as incentives to bring more people through their doors.

Shopper Emily Blackburn of Kilauea says about life in general during the pandemic, “It feels nice to see people out and about again. And it’s just one of those beautiful, epic spring days.”

North shore resident Aaron Martin adds while standing in line, “We saw families at the beach coming out and feeling safe again. It’s nice.”

Store owners, employees and shoppers alike continue to follow safety precautions and are being careful to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and stay six feet away from others.

Though it’s refreshing seeing businesses opening up again, it definitely comes with a new set of challenges.

Charlie Cowden, co-owner of Billabong Hanalei, says, “It’s good to be back open. It’s a little bit spooky because we don’t know where this is all going to go.

“Some of our stores are doing better than others. Hanalei Surf Company has a large focus on equipment and sporting supplies, and has been doing better. Retail including Billabong and Rip Curl stores have a lot of clothing and fashion merchandise and those are a little slower just because those products are not in as high a demand,” he said.

Cowden co-owns Billabong Hanalei with Kathy DeTreuax as well as Hanalei Surf Company – Backdoor and Rip Curl Hanalei. Cowden also is the owner of Hanalei Surf Company.

“We’re concerned that if things continue the way it is, and with this demand for sales, that we won’t be able to stay in business,” Cowden said.

“Then there’s this social trend among young people, where it’s hard to make a living. Locals tend to move to places like Oregon, Washington and Las Vegas. Those people are being replaced by people who move here and have passive income. It’s sad. It’s been happening for a long time, but this (COVID-19) is accelerating the trend.”

Business comebacks

Manager Mike Ching announced that several businesses have reopened at Ching Young Village Shopping Center, with most open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., including Big Save Market, Billabong Hanalei, Divine Planet, Aloha from Hanalei, Seahorse Boutique, Hot Rocket, Hanalei Surf Company — Back Door, Kokonut Kids, Sway Hanalei, Chocolate Hanalei, Pedal and Paddle, Sunshine Emporium and Spinning Dolphin T-Shirts.

Hanalei Strings to reopen this week

Take-out places that are open include L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Chicken In A Barrel, Village Snack Shop and Bakery, Pat’s Tacos, Hanalei Cafe and Aloha Juice Bar.

Offices open in the center include Honua Engineering, Timeshare Resales, Napali Properties, DeCamp Construction and Reside Kaua‘i.

Elizabeth Doyle manages Hanalei Center, and said most of the businesses that have reopened have hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Yellowfish Trading Company, Jewel of Paradise, Sand People, Hula Beach, Havaiki, Rider Physical Therapy, Hanalei Dental, Hanalei Surf Company and Rip Curl.

Hanalei Bay Massage opens today.

Hanalei Bread Company and Harvest Market are open at Hanalei Center as well.


Monique Rowan is a lifelong North Shore resident who lives in Wainiha and writes periodically for The Garden Island.

  1. Bob Ferguson May 18, 2020 2:31 am Reply

    What about mandatory testing for visitors – with a medical certificate of proof required (at their expense) before boarding their flights… Isn’t that the logical next step?

  2. mary May 18, 2020 5:35 am Reply

    New normal =oxymoron. It is new and it is not normal. Just like social distancing=physical isolation

  3. nobody May 18, 2020 8:55 am Reply

    Without strong tourism most of theses business’s will fail. The others will struggle. Many north shore residents are celebrating the lack of tourism. They are the rich malahinis, those on welfare, and the soon to be impoverished that will find out later they can’t make it without tourism.

  4. BoHuntR May 18, 2020 2:53 pm Reply

    This means nothing without tourism… Kauai will soon look like Molokai… those rich folks celebrating this will not even have a place to buy toilet paper.

  5. Charlie Chimknee May 19, 2020 7:52 am Reply

    Tourists are hard working Americans and people of many other countries who make the things w buy here to live comfortably.

    For you people who eat food, drive vehicles purchase gas, oil, and alcohol and tobacco, and employ the silly even though uncouth use of toilet paper, understand that we offer tourists a brief visit, a period of relaxation and a respite from their drudgery of 50 weeks of factory work in freezing cold winters and stifling hot summers, we sell Tropical Paradise with warm swimming waters Tradewinds AND beautiful Hawaiian Music, , even though Mother Nature owns and provides it all, we sell it as if it is our own. Well, the music, a few Can call their own and apparently love sharing their Aloha.

    And you want to hold them from visiting Kaua’i via your fixed incomes, and lazy welfare life style.

    If this island state lockdown continues it may come around and sting you like a malarial mosquito and then what you gonna survive on, your fishing skills, while your hungry neighbors loot your house?

    Why should the few elected continue the payroll of so many unnecessary government workers While the tax payer goes bankrupt? How about share al income equally between the Haves and the Have Nots.

    The Rule Of no more than 10 is to prevent PROTESTERS FROM EXERCISING FREE SPEECH.

    Less than 1% get the flu and only 0.000005% die. And in order to die you have to have 3 to 5 end of life Pre-existing chronic diseases, be taking about 10 poisonous prescription drugs Daily for those diseases and be old enough to pass on anyway with or without having the CoVid19 virus.

    And no one has died on Kaua’i, and 650,000 worldwide die every year from the other flu while they are, were, free to travel to Hawaii without lockdown and stay at home.

    It is more important to drink water than use it to wash and wring your hands with it.

    It is more Important to go outside and get SUN, immerse yourself in WATER, breathe Fresh Air, Rest on the sand, and Exercise in the water or taking a hike; than to stay at home. It is not Safe to Stay at Home.

    And if this lockdown keeps up, not many will have homes, the super rich will be buying them up at Deperession Era values.

    Who are these fools who lead us into collapse not only economically, but also mental, physical, and Social.

    Get these dummies impeached before it is too late.

    Is this all worth it for a few end of life sick elderly who didn’t take care of themselves when they had the chance, and apparently The medical industry cannot either.

    We new government leaders, and a new HEALTH not an old Disease mentality.

    1. BARBARA KELLY May 19, 2020 3:05 pm Reply

      You are so right. My daughter and her family live on Kauai. Her and her husband work, both of them in jobs that depend on tourists. How can anybody think they don’t need tourists? So much depends on them. A huge tax base is going to get lost too and there will be a lot less welfare money going around. I’m so tired of feeling like a bad person because we go to Kauai. Citys like LA tries very hard to have tourist come to this town, like having the Olympics here. I truly hope things go back to normal soon.

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