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.


  1. I need to double check my receipt before I leave teh store.  But I know the $$$ is a Little bit.  Maybe is winter time.  

  2. I used to go the the one in Waipahu when I lived in Ewa Beach.  Loved that store…so many unusual things that you can't find anywhere else!
    Too bad the Kailua one is turning into another big box store. 🙁

  3. I totally understand!,.. i'm going thru a change in my district too. They just opened "another" Longs,.. so now we have 2 of them in  Ewa Beach. We could use another grocery store since we only have 1 with a district population of 14,650 people (that number is still growing as another sub division is near completion).  I shop at the Waipahu DQ for my asian products too. I also shop at TARGET for the clothes as its more affordable than Macys. Good Luck with the change. A store is not the character of the district,… its the people and Kailua has some beautiful people.

  4. I remember when they were Daiei, gosh I'd say I missed that store, but they didn't change much when it became DQ except higher quality of goods and who can complain with that.  But alas the local blood in me doesn't like change when it comes to OUR stores hence the CVS brand is still calling themselves Longs Drugs here in Hawaii for fear of customer loyalty dropping.  At least we still have the memories.

  5. I used to go to the one in Waipahu as well.  I love the eclectic things you can get there and the prices are awesome!

  6. Its very sad indeed!  Kailua really isn't the place for a big box store like Target.  I grew up in Kailua and Don Quiote, Daiei before that and even before that it was Holiday Mart…whatever the store name, it has always been a place where you could buy everything and anything for bargain prices.  It will be missed!

  7. Well, that's progress, I guess. The only thing that saddens me is to hear that some people may lose their jobs due to the closure.
    I'm sorry to say that every time I hear of the area residents protesting this issue, It takes me back to the Annexation of Hawaii and what was taken from the Hawaiian people. I get the idea that the residents who protest the closure of DQ don't want something forced upon them. Now you know how the Hawaiians feel. Here we were, established as in independent nation as Kailua had progressed to a nice town only to have an outside entity come long telling us what to do. Taking something away and saying what's new is better. 
    Relax Kailua! Progress is coming and she's never gonna stop. Just be glad you get to keep your identity and your town. Besides, Longs sell some of the same products. Maybe not as much of a selection but, hey, maybe Target will have it! 
    I'm sorry to get all "pro sovereignty"  but this kind stuff so manini! Such a minor issue. I understand making a big fuss if a landfill was being considered or if the military was turning Kailua town into the next Kaho'olawe.
    But dis kine stuff, gotta 'e komo mai, Welcome!
    Oh, I used to shop the town DQ but their produce was always in bad shape but they had  a lot of oriental ethnic foods.

  8. Kalani well said, IMHO it all boils down to $$$$ and that's not always the most important thing. Box stores create jobs but what kind of jobs? I think we're getting to the point where young people won;t even consider starting their own business any more.

  9. Yes, Don Quiote store in Kailua will be missed…let's hope that the other locations will be around for a long time!

  10. I'm glad to hear that others also thing DQ is a special store… which is is.. but that's not helping it stay in local neighborhoods.  I also liked the 'real' Longs, before CVS got it.  I still go, of course, but have seen changes in it's merchandise.  When a store has been around for as long as those two, it's hard to figure out why someone decides it has change…

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