Ala Moana stores out of the dark

Chantal Migita
Chantal Migita
Francis Cofran
Francis Cofran
Jessica Wallace
Jessica Wallace

By Teri Okita – bio | email

ALA MOANA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Day three of on-and-off power at Ala Moana shopping center. At two o'clock Tuesday afternoon, electricity was finally restored to the entire mall – but not before some merchants had to think out-of-the-giftbox to stay in business.

80 percent of stores at Ala Moana opened, as usual, for business, but about 50 stores were powerless well into the afternoon.

"It's devastating for business," says Chantal Migita, store manager at Bag'n Baggage.

To compensate, Bag'n Baggage had the bright idea of using flashlights to shop. They escorted customers in and around the store, a few at a time.

When asked how much money she thinks the store is losing, Migita answered, "Tens of thousands. Tens of thousands. And I'm not alone. So I feel really, really sorry for everyone who lost power."

Monday was supposed to be Bag'n Baggage's biggest business day of the year, but after days in the dark, sales figures will likely be way off. They don't know yet if they'll file a claim against Hawaiian Electric Company for lost business or damages. The power company says any claims will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Management at Ala Moana says it just wants to get through this critical time.

"We've been really focusing on the actual power outage, trying to get our merchants up and open for business time - the last four days 'til Christmas," says Francis Cofran, general manager of the shopping center.

The problem originated at a HECO substation a block away from the shopping center. HECO workers burrowed under Kapiolani boulevard to repair cables that service the ewa end of Ala Moana.

HECO spokesman Darren Pai says, "We really regret this inconvenience for customers. We have extra crews on duty, and they've been working around the clock to try and restore power."

Shoppers say they're just happy to get in some last-minute gift buying.

"We called before we came to make sure that some part was still open," says shopper Jessica Wallace.

Power outage or not, crowds still turned out in large numbers - squeezing in whatever shopping they could.

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