Airport lei vendors face tough competition

By Dan Cooke - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Airport lei vendors welcome you with a smile, but underneath it all there's some tough competition.

The purchasing experience starts before you get out of your car.

"Well when the cars come in, you know you just smile to attract the people," Harriet's Lei Stand owner Leimomi Miyahana said.

They smile and wave. It's a warm welcome, but underneath that showing of aloha is some fairly intense competition.

"Yes it's very difficult. A lot of competition, but we try to just, try to if one goes to next door then kind of like, well maybe the next one will come to us and if it doesn't, that's just life," Miyahana said.

Miyahana is the third of four generations at Harriet's Lei Stand. Their tradition of giving lei to visitors started with her grandmother back before airplanes, when big cruise ships were the only way to get to the islands. In those days you could get three lei for a quarter.

"Three leis for a quarter, so some people come and ask for three leis for a quarter. These people are very old," Miyahana said.

Harriet's is just one of many at the airport lei stand, so to be fair we say aloha to Sophia's, Dorothy's, Maile's, Bessie's, Irene's, Arthur's, Martha's, Rachel's, Gladys', Dora's and Pua Melia.

Here's a lei for you.

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