Swap meet vendors tough it out - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Swap meet vendors tough it out

Jerry Garcia Jerry Garcia
Paul Le Paul Le
Winnie Davies Winnie Davies

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - With a huge range of quality goods at bargain prices, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet has long been a popular spot for Christmas shopping. It's a buyers' market this year as vendors struggle to cover their costs.

For first year vendor Jerry Garcia, things started off great. He sells sports items like jerseys, caps and souvenirs. Sales were booming in the beginning, but the over the past few months, business has slowed down dramatically.

"For September and October the numbers were down 50%," says Vendor Jerry Garcia.

It's the same story at just about every booth. Paul Le, a vendor here for seven years feels lucky to have return customers. He says this is the worst year since 9/11.

"To put it in numbers, we've probably seen the business reduced by around, I would say anywhere from 30 to 40 percent compared to the same time last year."

While shoppers are haggling for the best deals, they're also happy to be putting money into Hawaii's economy.

"To help the small business person it's great. It's much better, more satisfaction for me than going to a larger retailer," says Visitor Winnie Davies.

With products to unload, vendors have to offer even better deals than before to make ends meet. Although tis' the season to be jolly, some are anxious to get through what has been a difficult year.

"I just figure if I can ride this wave out, then by the time I get up there, there will be another one coming we'll be going up the hill and I'll be doing fine," says Vendor Jerry Garcia.

"We have to find one way or another to make it through," says Vendor Paul Le.

For nearly 30 years the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet has been the place to find great deals. This year especially vendors hope shoppers will take out their pocket books and get into the Christmas spirit, and show some aloha spirit.

A year ago there were between 650-and-700 vendors at the swap meet. This year that number dropped to about 550 because of the increasing cost to rent a space.

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