Loyal customers turn out for Don Quijote's last day in Kailua

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Don Quijote in Kailua had its final day of business Saturday as it makes way for a Target store. Many of the store's loyal customers made one final visit.

Beverly Akiona was one of the customers. "I could just come shopping for everything," she said. "All the groceries, whatever I need, I'd shop here."

Akiona's yellow grocery bags included packets of Mongolian beef seasoning powder, and some items for her daughter-in-law's dog. Many customers said that was the reason they shopped at Don Quijote: it was a store where you could get just about anything in one stop, drawing customers who were loyal for decades.

Jeff Galdones stopped to take a last photo of his wife and mother-in-law in front of the store. "I'm not originally from here," he said, "but my wife and my mother-in-law is from here. They remember it as being Holiday Mart, all through the years and finally ending up as Don Quijote."

Customers had a hard time pinning down what they would miss the most. "I guess everything," Kaneohe resident Rose Alimoot said. "What can I say, you know? Everything in this store is good."

"The meats, the vegetables, cheap," added Alimoot's husband, Bill.

Don Quijote is actually the last remaining tenant in the building that was the center of Kailua's shopping area for years. There were several smaller retailers, including Hakuoysha Dry Cleaners, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Yum Yum Express, Ba-Le Sandwiches, and Twogood Kayaks Hawaii, but they have already moved to new locations nearby. Don Quijote, however, is leaving Kailua.

Ken Sanders came in, hoping for some store-closing bargains, but didn't find any. "We've been here quite a few times over the years, and it served a good purpose, so we're sorry to lose it," he said.

Much of the merchandise in the Kailua store will be going to Don Quijote's other locations at Kaheka, Pearl City and Waipahu. An undisclosed number of the location's 120 employees are being let go.

Kailua customers are now wondering where they'll go to buy things they could only find at Don Quijote. "I just guess I have to go Safeway," said Akiona, before adding, "Well, my daughter lives on the other side so she can pick up some things for me."

"I guess all the oriental stuff, either we go into town, or maybe Longs," said Galdones.

Landowner Kaneohe Ranch reached an agreement earlier this week for Target to purchase the Don Quijote site. Construction on Target's 130,000 square foot store is scheduled to begin this spring.

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