HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Vendors of the popular Aloha Stadium Swap Meet say they were caught off guard when trying to set up Saturday, leading to tensions over the market.
Some vendors voiced their concerns this weekend over rules about tent installers.
The tents are usually set up before dawn, and before sellers arrive because the vendors hire companies to bring them in.
However, a new rule that started on Jan. 1 prevented the trucks from bringing in the tents. Now vendors are demanding refunds.
“They said today they cannot come in and set up the tent. I said, why? They said oh, they’re not allowed to set up because they didn’t sign agreement but we don’t know,” vendor To Nguyen said.
“It was certainly a surprise because normally we expect to see the tents all over the place, already set up for us ready to go, but we didn’t see that, so it was a surprise,” vendor Paul L. added.
Some said the tents need to be set up early because it takes hours for them to arrange their products.
“If no more tent, no more business. No more business, the stadium all going be empty and this not going be good for local community. Lose Aloha Stadium free market,” said Shin Lin.
Centerplate, the operating company behind the swap meet, outlined the rules in a statement, saying that they met with tent vendors prior to the changes. They added the rules are aimed at improving safety.
The new rules include: Tent installers must register as vendors at the swap meet; Tent installers must provide a current safety check for their trucks operating on property; Tent trucks must be marked with the company name, and; employees working as tent installers must wear a yellow traffic vest so they are visible to other drivers.
“All parties met several months ago to discuss the rules and what actions needed to be completed prior to today,” Centerplate said.
But on Saturday, no tent installers were in compliance and not allowed to do business, Centerplate said.
“We apologize to the swap meet vendors that have been affected by these new regulations. Centerplate is currently in talks with all tent installers to remedy the situation,” they added.
About 300 to 400 vendors were affected by the change.