A Hawaii Local Favorite Closes Down ↓

And My Cost of Living Just Went Up So I’m in retail mourning’ right now. And it doesn’t feel good. I have written about favored items here on this blog, many of which came from my beloved Don Quiote store here in Kailua. And it closed down this weekend to make room for – OK, this is hard to say…. T-a-r-g-e-t …. which is all I’ll say about that, or it could get ugly, as I was one of many who opposed this business decision. Let me instead reminisce about some my favorite recollections.

Where else can you find a hula lamp at a grocery store? So cool! And the sweetest small grocery bag to pick up small items when out and about.

When I first moved to Hawaii, I lived in a hotel/studio condo in Waikiki for several months, eating in restaurants every day. It didn’t take long for me to start looking for some fresh local produce to enhance my diet. I was immediately directed to D.Q., with an emphasis on affordability’. I tracked down the Honolulu store and if my memory serves me, I spent hours in there my first visit – astounded by the new cultural shopping experience of this so called Japanese Wal Mart’. When I picked up a packaged food item that I’d never seen before, and hesitantly poked at it, I was sharply reprimanded by a fellow customer, an elderly Asian woman who told me to” keep my hands off the merchandise”! I was traumatized for a week.

That didn’t stop me from returning many more times, each time, browsing the aisles of merchandise that were foreign to me. It became a destination – an event – a full afternoon outing – a cultural education. One day I had my nose up against the display of over a dozen versions of poke – a local favorite of cubed raw tuna with different seasons or spice, including seaweed. I’m not a sushi eater, so again, this was new to me. The clerk, so proud of his fresh product, explained it to me and enthusiastically encouraged me to have my first bite. He was so sure I was going to love it! So, I was in Hawaii, I was starting a new life, and I would embrace my new culture. I took his sample, put it in my mouth, and I’m sure I turned a bit green. I couldn’t swallow, so I carefully closed my mouth, gave him a big smile of thanks, turned away, and you know what. But out of his sight as I couldn’t be rude to my host.

I was always able to find a new coffee, who doesn’t want octopus rings?

And the infamous poke display.

I’ll mention that without my DQ in Kailua (yes, I can still go to the one in Honolulu) my grocery bill will definitely be higher. Groceries in general are very expensive in Hawaii, but this store somehow kept prices lower than all the others. It will be missed by more than just me. The community had a connection with this store and its employees that seems missing in big box stores. I know I’m not alone.

Good luck pigs! And medicine for jelly fish stings… both things we need when in Hawaii.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher