Record gas prices impact North Shore businesses

Renee Nobriga
Renee Nobriga

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HALE'IWA (KHNL) -  The North Shore of Oahu has always been a popular weekend destination for people who live on the island, but rising gas prices have made road trips to Hale'iwa a bit expensive.

The North Shore has always been a popular weekend getaway for people who live in town.  But with a tank of gas now costing $60, $70, and even $80, fewer folks are taking road trips, affecting businesses in Hale'iwa.

The North Shore Marketplace is a bit quieter this summer.  Record gas prices have made Haleiwa an expensive destination even for locals like Sheri Richard, who lives in Kane'ohe.

"We used to come by, come, eat shave ice, and go get shrimp and stuff, and just go around the island, and it was nothing," she said. "But now, with gas prices so high, you think twice."

And that concern has a direct impact on North Shore businesses. The North Shore Swimwear store has seen a dramatic slowdown in sales during the height of swimsuit season.

"We definitely feel the impact," said Renee Nobriga, a Pupukea resident who has worked in the store for six and a half years.  "We definitely feel that our business has slowed down a bit since last year. This time it's usually been crazy and hectic.  We needed three girls in the store; now we have one girl in the store. As you can see there's nobody really in the store."

An unusual experience this time of year.

"Usually June, July are our busiest months," said Nobriga.  "It seems like it's kind of slowing down which is crazy because usually we can't even breathe in the store."

High gas prices also impact those who live on the North Shore and commute to town.  Ilese Jones goes to school at Hawaii Pacific University five days a week.

"And so I have to drive every day," said Jones, an HPU psychology major.  "Well, I used to drive every day, but now gas is so high, I have to find alternative ways to get to school."

North Shore folks hope their neighbors in town don't forget about them, and find creative ways to get here.

"I believe carpool is the best idea," said Nobriga.  "So if you want to bring a bunch of people, bring them down. You don't have to take all your cars.  There's a whole lot to experience here on the North Shore.  It's worth it."

Other stores in Hale'iwa also report some slow down in business.  Again, they blame rising gas prices.