North Shore surf a magnet for crowds, but also for food trucks

North Shore surf a magnet for crowds, but also for food trucks

NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's visitor numbers have been hitting new records for the past few years. But those high numbers also means there are more people visiting Oahu's North Shore -- and more people trying to take advantage of an opportunity to make money.

"More than 50 percent of all the tourists who come to Oahu come up to the North Shore," said Bill Quinlan of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce. And many of those people flock to Haleiwa's shops and restaurants.

However, more and more food trucks have also sprung up along the seven mile stretch of beaches that draws surfers and spectators.

While most of the trucks are said to be following the rules, they've still taken their toll on other businesses.

"It is a fact, two restaurants in Haleiwa have closed in the last 18 months, mainly because of lunch trucks taking business away from them. And that's a shame," said Quinlan.

However, the food trucks are also creating jobs in a place where residents otherwise have to drive long distances to get to work.

"There needs to be a plan," said Carol Philips, who has lived in Haleiwa for more than 30 years. "Where do people go? Where do they park? And the businesses, can you just set up a business anywhere you want?"

Philips said without a plan, the situation will keep growing out of control. A food truck court across from Shark's Cove has proven to be popular with visitors but controversial with residents. Others are trying to open other food truck courts elsewhere on the North Shore. And craft vendors are also setting up shop along the shoreline during big wave events.

"They're going to do it more," said Philips. "They see these people coming in and they're going to start copying and you're going to want to do it because there's money to be made."

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