Vendors upset over sudden closure of Kam Swap Meet

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Jeffrey Patrick is one of the veteran vendors of the Kam Swap Meet, selling second-hand items to customers who frequent the marketplace on the weekends.

"Hand tools, power tools, whatever we come across," Patrick said. "I hit the auctions, buy the stuff and bring it out to sell."

On Wednesday, Patrick and other swap meet vendors were stunned at the news the venue would be closed for good on March 5. The landowner delivered the news with a sign posted on the property's concession stand.

"To just drop it on people like this, that's messed up," vendor Keith Saunders said.

Robertson Properties Group owns the 15-acre site that used to house the Kam Drive-In movie theater.

The company didn't comment on the short notice, but issued a statement saying the swap meet was always temporary and that the site will eventually be developed into residential and commercial property.

"Unfortunately, interest in the swap meet has declined over the years, to the point that it is no longer sustainable," the statement said.

Patrick disputes that.

"I would say just the opposite," Patrick said. "There's people that try to sneak in on foot before the 5 a.m. open to hit the stuff while we're still putting it out."

Saunders sells perfumes. He's upset at the lack of at least 30-days notice.

"Nobody actually even informed us. I had to go and inquire," he said. "'Hey. I just heard this rumor we were shutting down.'"

"As an owner, as a business, I understand there's a lot of things that change," Patrick added. "But don't just slap a paper on the wall saying, 'By the way, next week you're out. Thanks very much.'"

Patrick says he rents several vendor stalls, paying to park his trucks on the property.

Now, he'll instead have to scramble to make other arrangements, likely selling his wares at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet.

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