Beloved Mom & Pop Store to Shut Down

Elroy Hamada
Elroy Hamada

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's the small grocery store that boasts big savings. But soon, the beloved H. Hamada Store in Kakaako will close its doors for good.

No job's too small for Elroy Hamada. He'll bag groceries and even help customers outside.

"Okay, go mama," he said as he carried an elderly shopper's bags. "I follow you."

Never mind that it's his family's name on the front of the building.

"They always say thank you, and they take your groceries to the car," Esther Mitte, customer, said. "That's a lot of things that doesn't happen in other stores."

But next month, the mom and pop shop will say good-bye. H. Hamada Store has been a fixture on Queen Street for more than 50 years.

"I've had so many customers telling me you can't close," Elroy Hamada said. "They have nowhere else to shop."

His grandfather launched the business at a different location in the 1930s. A scanner at the checkout line shows some things do change.

"When technology came in, I had to find a way where we could get customers in and out," Hamada said.

But others stay the same. At the checkout line, many stories have been exchanged.

"They come because they want to have conversation with my parents," Hamada said. "And from then on, I tried to carry on the tradition."

But Elroy turned 60 in January, and says it's time to retire.

"I've never taken my family for a vacation," he said.

Mitte travels from her home in Pearl City to shop at H. Hamada.

"Oh, thank you," Elroy Hamada said as Mitte hugged him.

She feels like she's saying good-bye to a member of the family.

"It gives you a sad feeling, and it makes you realize how old you are, too," she said while laughing.

The store will shut down at the end of April, or sooner if all the merchandise sells out. The Hamadas plan to lease out the space.