KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) – People who represent Target, the big box merchandiser, will hear from a lot of Kailua residents Saturday about why they do not want Target in their town.
Target is holding an open house Saturday, November 20, at 9 a.m. at Kailua Elementary School. The company says in a news release that the open house will give the broader community a chance to see informative exhibits and engage in "informal conversations with the project team" on topics including traffic impacts and improvements, building design and landscaping, economic impacts, and "Target's commitment to sustainability."
On Thursday, Nov. 18, Hawaii News Now aired a story in which landlord Kaneohe Ranch made arguments in favor of Target.
On Friday, Nov. 19, Hawaii News Now aired the views of Kailua merchants and residents opposed to the mega merchandiser.
One of the arguments against opening a target in Kailua is the negative impact many fear it will have on small locally owned businesses that are already here.
Hungry Ear Records is one of those businesses.
"I come in here since I was in high school. So we're talking about, 30 years. And I like this store. It has this local feeling to it," said Kailua resident Dean Michihara as he looked through the CD selection at Hungry Ear.
Target will not buy and sell used music like they do at Hungry Ear, and it will not have the vinyl records that are available at Hungry Ear, but the store's owners still worry Target may doom them.
"I think they are really going to hurt the new CD sales because they have a CD department that's maybe the size of our store," said co-owner Dennie Chong.
"So a lot of our little businesses will fold up and die," said long time Kailua resident Mollie Foti.
"First of all, Target is way too big for Kailua. Kailua is a little town. Target is a big store, and in order to fill all those aisles they are going to have to have shoppers coming from all over," Foti added.
More shoppers means more traffic in a town struggling to maintain its small town feel.
"I represent their prime demographic. I have two children that are in school. I'm married. I own a home. I'm who they want shopping there and I don't want them here, so I'm not sure where they're coming from saying that I need them," said resident Dana Miller.
Miller has joined "Choose Kailua," a grass roots group whose short term goal is stop the mega store from opening in Kailua.
There is also a "notargetkailua" web site where the opposition is collecting signatures from people who do not think the store belongs at the site currently occupied by Don Quote.
"It's nothing against Target at all. I think a lot of us love Target. But we can go 20 minutes to Target. I think for me personally, I don't want to see target competing with some of our small town merchants who have been here for a long time," said Malia Peters, whose family has lived in Kailua for five generations.
Target already has the lease to the property. It plans to begin construction in the Fall of 2011 and open in the Summer of 2012.
RELATED STORY: Touting Target in Kailua pt. 1.