WAIPOULI — Pua Pa of Lihu‘e said she is going to miss the poke from the Foodland store in Waipouli Shopping Center.
Foodland Super Market, Ltd. announced Tuesday that it will not renew its lease for the Foodland Waipouli. The store plans to close on Aug. 9.
“It’s been on the news and social media all morning,” Pa said, ”We live in Lihu‘e but come here at least once a week. I like their poke, but I don’t think I’ll drive to Princeville.”
The store that opened in 1980 has a staff of 70 employees, and is the 28th location for the locally owned and operated grocery retailer. The closure of the Waipouli store does not affect the Princeville Foodland that will continue to operate.
“The decision to close this store after our lease expires at the end of July was a very difficult one,” said Jenai S. Wall, Foodland chair and CEO in a release announcing the closure. “Foodland Waipouli has served Kaua‘i’s Eastside community for 40 years, and we thought long and hard about the impact the closing would have on our loyal customers and dedicated employees. Nevertheless, the sadness of saying goodbye to this location is balanced by the reality that this store has been struggling financially for several years due to increased competition from big-box retailers entering the market.”
Customer Tony Lakapung said he comes to the Waipouli store at least once a week.
“They shouldn’t close the store,” he said. “Maybe they can at least keep the deli open. I like their food.”
Wall said that operating a store in a 40-year-old facility with increasing repair and maintenance costs was no longer sustainable.
Renovating the store to the standards its customers deserve and expect today is cost prohibitive.
Riana Ralston, another shopper from Lihu‘e, said she didn’t know about the store closing.
“We come here too many times from Lihu‘e,” she said.
“And now that I know it’s closing, I’m bummed. Where are we going to shop?”
The closing of the Foodland Waipouli is not related to the two new stores planned for O‘ahu openings.
“We are grateful to our Foodland Waipouli customers, many of whom are like family to us, and thank them for faithfully shopping with us over the years,” Wall said.
“We hope to find a new location on Kaua‘i in the future. Until then, Foodland will continue to serve the island at Foodland Princeville.”
An arriving shopper, also aware of the development, said it is going to be sad for Kapa‘a.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.