LIHU‘E — Mel Dias was sleeping in the Kukui Grove Center parking lot fronting the Ross Dress for Less store Saturday night in anticipation of the store’s reopening Sunday morning.
“I have her picture,” a shopper waiting in the line entering the store said Sunday morning, drawing up the social media proof. “This is crazy. That’s her. It’s like Black Friday in the pandemic.”
Dias was making her way to the end of the line of Ross shoppers that snaked around the building past the closed-off dine-in area of the food court and then rounding the corner to the store’s closed mall entrance.
“I overslept,” Dias said. “I wanted to be first, but I left around midnight because I thought the security would give me a hard time about spending the night in the parking lot.”
Sheila Balisacan, manager of the Kukui Grove Center store, said the line was so long, they opened the doors at 8 a.m., two hours earlier than the scheduled opening for the store that limits the number of people inside based on social-distancing guidelines. And, of course, face masks must be worn.
Balisacan also confirmed the opening of the Waipouli store that had similar congestion in the parking lot fronting its store.
“We were here since 6:30 this morning,” said Christie and Kevin Hendricks, who had the distinction of being the second shoppers inside the store that was shuttered because of the COVID-19 rules and mandates.
The reopening of the Ross Dress for Less highlighted the Memorial Day weekend at KGC, where other retailers like Macy’s opened up Friday morning, and ProfessioNail enjoyed a full day of appointments after being shut down by the pandemic rules. A new tenant, DoU with Melisa Garcia, enjoyed providing shoppers with a sneak preview of her shop offering exercise classes and affiliated wear designed for the strengthening of mind, body and soul.
“Slow and easy,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, the shopping center’s manager of specialty leasing and marketing. “We don’t want the massive crowds because of the social-distancing concerns.”
That did not happen Sunday, as security personnel worked to remind waiting shoppers of the social-distancing guidelines while planning for an extension of the overflow line of waiting shoppers.
“The shopping center security said the line started at 6:30 this morning,” McFerrin-Warrack said. “They have been checking the area to help make sure people are social distancing. I am really impressed with how everyone is wearing their masks and social distancing. It’s really nice to see people happy to shop again.”
The KGC website, kukuigrovecenter.com, offers a full set of new health and safety guidelines based on COVID-19 concerns.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.