HONOLULU (KHON2) — One year into the pandemic and Hawaii continues to see more long-time businesses close their doors for good.
Love’s Bakery will close its doors for good on Wednesday, March 31. The bakery was able to withstand the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Pearl Harbor and 9/11, but COVID-19 proved to be too much for the 170 year old business.
“They’ve been part of our community for so long and they’re so iconic and when they closed I mean it was just heartbreaking,” explained Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president. “It goes to show that nobody is exempt from this pandemic, it can hit anybody.”
And on Sunday, many people lined up outside Kaneohe Bakery for its last day after nearly 70 years in business.
Likelike Drive Inn, Dillingham Saimin, the Honolulu Club and Gecko Books and Comics had also been around for decades until they closed their doors in 2020.
“Nobody is immune to this pandemic,” Yamaki said.
She says its big and small retailers who are taking a hit.
“We have to understand; the only time they got help from the government was through PPP loans and a lot of those loans have not been converted to grants yet,” Yamaki explained.
She said many businesses are uneasy about taking out another loan and putting themselves in further debt.
“Yes, we want to keep our jobs and we can use 60% of the PPP loans for the employee salaries, but we still have to pay rent, we still got to pay electricity, and we still got to pay our distributors,” Yamaki continued.
Even with restrictions eased and 100% occupancy allowed, social distancing remains in place, and even with visitors back, businesses have said it’s still difficult to stay open.
“We don’t have the visitors back in droves and even the visitors coming in now, most of them are budget conscious, because Hawaii is so cheap to come to now,” she explained.
With case numbers on the rise once again, Yamaki says many business owners are now worried more restrictions could be put in place.
“It’s a scary situation because we can’t afford another third shutdown. You’re going to see a lot more businesses not reopening, ever again,” she said.
The Hawaii Chamber of Commerce recently surveyed 300 businesses who believe the road to recovery will continue through April 2022. Nine out of 10 said they expect to be around the next six months to one year and hopefully longer.