HONOLULU (KHON2) — This year’s inflation squeeze is forcing many to rethink their holiday spending, as the inflation rate is making goods and services cost a bit more.
Kalihi resident Marco Calatrava said he does not usually hold back on his spending for gifts; but this year, he was more cautious with his money. He said he noticed others around him doing the same.
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Calatrava said, “I did see, you know, people are kind of tightening their budget and stuff.”
Hawaii remains a top destination for travelers during the holidays although Paul Lavelle, who visited from Colorado, said they used some help to pay for the trip.
Lavelle said, “I fly quite a bit with my business so I have a lot of frequent flier miles. If we didn’t have those, we wouldn’t be able to come over.”
Inflation is not likely to come down yet. State economists project the inflation rate to increase by another 3 percent next year.
Small businesses are feeling the pressure, too. Certain long-time restaurants like Dean’s Drive Inn in Kaneohe closed this summer after 16 years in business.
The owners said the cost of food and supplies as well as trouble finding workers made it almost impossible for them to stay open.
Calatrava said, “We kind of miss those old family small mom and pop stores, yea those small businesses.”
Meanwhile, markets and restaurants that once helped shape the identity of a neighborhood, like the Keeaumoku International Village and the Ohana Hale Marketplace on Ward Avenue are now demolished and paving the way to residential high rises.
Some restaurants like Sorabol have found new locations, but not all businesses have been as lucky.
Lavelle used to live on Oahu more than a decade ago. He said that he misses the essence of local shops, “Growth is wonderful. I mean, you’re not going to stop growth; but there’s something about the traditional Hawaii mom-and-pop restaurants and little stores that are missed now.”
Meanwhile, Hawaii staples like Ted’s Bakery pies ended its wholesale operation earlier this year. The decision comes after supply chain issues made it challenging for the bakery to get all the supplies needed for their recipes.
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The Hawaii Restaurant Association said once the peak holiday travel season ends, many restaurant operators will reassess if they can afford to stay in business.