Waikiki businesses fling open their doors with high hopes of wooing kamaaina

Waikiki businesses thrilled to finally reopen, but traffic still slow

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Signs of life are beginning to return in Waikiki.

On Friday, shoppers got a taste of the new normal as many retailers opened their doors for the first time in almost two months.

“We have some crowds developing,” said general manager of the International Market place Breana Grosz. “Of course, they’re socially distancing themselves.”

Dozens of masked patrons waited in line outside the Shoe Palace to get their hands on the new Jordan’s.

Jon Lagon was lucky enough to get himself a pair of the limited edition sneakers. “It feels good to be out,” he said.

The shoe store was sold out in 45 minutes.

But that was the exception. Most businesses got off to a bit of a slower start.

Even so, the atmosphere seemed a little like Christmas, customers and shopkeepers alike said.

“I’m just so excited. We will be smiling under our masks. Maybe you can feel that,” said Nancy Cheung.

Despite the new rules and restrictions, the owner of Happy Wahine was elated to be back at work — offering discounts in hopes of enticing shoppers.

“We’re offering 20% off store-wide for our customers,” she said. “We’re also validating parking.”

Across the street at Royal Hawaiian Center, Malie Kai Chocolates is also hoping to attract customers with a bargain.

“We’re a small local business. We ask for kamaaina support," store manager Aylisa Oishi said.

"And we’re giving back too with the discounts and free gifts.”

On Kalakaua Avenue, businesses that had been boarded up once again have merchandise in the windows. Some are expected to open as soon at Saturday.

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