This year was like most others in Kona: we lost some businesses and we gained some new businesses. We typically see a churn of 10-15% of the businesses in our 2,000+ businesses database a year, and this year was no different.
Why are so many businesses lost each year? Well, we define a business as a legal entity registered with the State of Hawaii. This could be as simple a registering a name and not doing anything with it or, at the other extreme, registering a name, building out a work location, hiring employees and running the business.
Some of the businesses we lost this year were due to changes in the marketplace. Kona Coast Office Supply is basically gone (though it does have minimal operations in the furniture store next door). They just could not compete with online and big-box retailers. It’s a shame because this is a business that I relied on for expert knowledge and hard-to-find paper. I purchased most of my office supplies, equipment, and paper from them whenever possible, but, sadly, not enough people did.
Another business that we lost of Oshima’s Store in Kainaliu. I understand the Affordable Care Act impacted their prescription drug business, and, just like Kona Coast Office Supply, they were unable to survive in the land of big box stores. I have very fond memories of buying a drink or some candy there when I would go to the Aloha Theater.
One of my favorite businesses that closed was Chirashi Sushi by Jiro, a small kiosk sushi shop in the Lanihau Center. His product was excellent and he did a great business, but non-business issues forced the closure. On the bright side, we have a sushi bowl restaurant in the same location that is also excellent.
Another loss to Kona was the closure of Bubba Gumps. Their lease expired and they were unable to come to new terms on the location. I was not a huge fan of Bubba Gump’s, going there maybe once a year when we’d have guests visiting the island. I look forward to what will be taking its place, as the location is simply awesome.
The Pizza Hut on Palani also closed. It might have been good for delivery, but the inside of the restaurant was one of the most outdated and poorly maintained chain restaurants I have seen. Not surprised it closed.
There is a new excellent place to get NY style pizza: Kona Crust. I’ve been there several times and like the big, flavorful slices, served quickly.
Another business that lost its location is Fabric and Quilting Delights. No word, yet, if they will have a new storefront in town.
One new business in Kona is Planet Fitness, on the corner of Queen K and Henry Street–the old Borders location. There are now about 10 fitness centers in Kona. I suspect there will be some contraction of this number in the future.
Speaking of fitness, we now have a nice retail store for outdoor enthusiasts: Kona Sports Center, by the soon-to-open Starbucks across from Honokohau Harbor. They also offer bike rentals.
Another one of our favorite new businesses is Kona Kones. They have a beautifully designed trailer, from which they sell ice cream made with real fruit. Right now they are at the Sheraton’s farmers market on Wednesdays and Fridays.
I also have to give a shout out to a business that is directly across from Kona Impact, Ola Brew Company. They have been in business a year and amazed the community with their beers and ciders and their commitment to doing things right. They have been an awesome neighbor and a great addition to the Old Industrial neighborhood. We look forward to seeing them prosper!
Kona Impact 74-5599 Luhia St, E-7, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740