Rising Rent Forces Two Local Businesses to Move

MCCULLY/MOILIILI (KHNL) - Two, long-time local businesses in the McCully/Mo'ili'ili area are moving. They say the rising cost of operating their business is forcing them to pack up.

Ebisu Catering Service and King Florist have served their customers for decades. But a new, more expensive lease contract, has left them looking for a new place for their business.

Ebisu Catering Service has been a Mo'ili'ili institution for more than four decades, serving up tasty treats to regular customers like Troy Lima.

Why does he keep on coming back?

"Because of the food," said Lima, who has been a customer for 30 years. "The food is good. This is one of the better okazuya places that I ate."

But soon, Ebisu will move out. The landlord recently raised the rent in a new lease contract, making it hard for the catering business to meet its costs.

"There's a lot of people that so used to them, they've been long-time customers, and it's just pretty sad that's going to go," said Brandon Isokane, a customer whose family has been patrons for three generations.

"The contract dispute also affects other businesses in the building. This flower shop next door will also have to move.

James and Yoshiko Haioka have owned King Florist for ten years. They, too, are leaving because they can't afford the higher rent.

"We didn't want to move," said James Haioka, who took over the business with his wife after he retired.

They will miss their customers and the neighbors.

"It's like leaving a home," said James Haioka. "We've been here 10 years. We're very comfortable."

They have no ill will against the landlord. They have already found a new place on Beretania Street and look forward to reopening in July.

"No negative feelings," said James Haioka. "Look to the future and start all over again."

Customers say they will definitely follow the businesses to their new locations.

"I'm still going to visit them because the food's going to be fantastic," said Isokane.

Ebisu Catering is still working out the details of its remaining contract with the landlord. They could move as early as next Sunday or as late as the end of August.

The landlord said she had not raised rent in two years. So she had to, she said, to meet her expenses.