HONOLULU (KHON2) — Walgreens in 2020, Longs in 2022 and in April 2023 it will be Downtown Honolulu Walmart.
KHON2 swung by the Fort Street Mall location to see how the upcoming closure will impact the area.
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The Fort Street Mall Walmart is perfect for area residents — whether it is for food, house supplies or everything in between.
“But over here it’s just, I mean, who beats Walmart? Man, it’s cheap over here — you know what I mean,” said Dennis San Juan.
Walmart said several stores around the country have not met financial expectations. Their Fort Street Mall location will close on Friday, April 21.
Those in the area and the Retail Merchants of Hawaii think theft may have played a role.
“It’s not because they’re stealing spam to feed their family. I mean, there might be a couple who are doing that, but for the most part, it’s organized retail crime,” said Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president. “And they’re coming in and they’re getting bolder and bolder and stealing more and more things.”
“This store was perfect over here, I wish they could’ve stepped up on the, you know the crime, more, more back then. But right now it’s really, we don’t know what to do,” said Kalihi resident Stanford Kaeo.
Those who live and work in the area pointed out that Walmart is not just a big box store — it also has a pharmacy that will soon be gone.
“But it’s going to hurt a lot of people, you know, because Longs shut down, Walgreens shut down and this is where I get all my medications,” San Juan said.
“No more Longs to pick up where I pick up my medicine,” Richel Teehera, who works across the street from Walmart. “But now it’s Walmart so I have to stop my medicine over there and I don’t know where to pick up my medicine now.”
Yamaki said it is possible the space could be filled by another retailer or be converted to office space. A Hawaii Life realtor pointed out that it could turn into residences with some modifications.
“I actually lived in an old converted commercial space myself, and there were some funny things there, some funny things with the ventilation there, but I think that it’s going to be a trend that continues in Hawaii,” said Joey Furlett, a Hawaii Life realtor and broker.
There is a small silver lining for Fort Street Mall workers.
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“Because they have other locations and everybody is looking for employees, they’re able to absorb those employees possibly into their other stores if the employees are interested,” Yamaki said.