A hidden gem in Waikiki will soon close its doors.
The thrift shop at the Waikiki Community Center has been around for nearly three decades, but will close on April 14.
The shop’s manager says it will be a big loss for the community.
"I really feel bad for the people," said Lydia Matias Chadick. “We have so many different type people like homeless, people who have a little money, tourists."
Chadick believes the center wants to close the shop because it serves homeless people.
But the president of the center disputes that. The center has experienced tremendous growth in all of its programs and the thrift shop space is needed to expand its licensed preschool, said manager Caroline Hayashi.
"We actually have other services in the center that help people in that situation more holistically," she said.
Hayashi said WCC has more than 100 different activities geared towards keiki and kupuna.
"Since all those programs have been growing, really a lot of them more than tripling in the last couple years, our physical space has become more and more of challenge," Hayashi said.
She added the thrift shop will be transformed into a teacher’s lounge, which is required for national accreditation. She said the lounge teachers currently have will be turned into more classroom space.
“We are all so very saddened to see the thrift shop go. It was a very difficult decision for us to make because we know that the thrift shop has value, a lot of value as a community gathering place," she said.
Community members are fighting to save the shop, though, with a petition.
"I love thrift shops but I've never made so many friends as I had in this thrift shop. I don't know what it is, mama Lydia, I don't know," said customer Deb Howe.
“I've seen people get jobs from the clothes that Lydia has given them for minimal," said another customer, Cynthia King.
“Lydia gets it. George, the volunteer, they get it. They know what it's for. They know what it's about. And it's not money. It's repurposing, giving people purpose, adding value…people who can't afford clothes, it gets them to work," King said.
So far, the petition has garnered nearly 100 signatures.