HONOLULU (KHON2) — With the Aloha Stadium officially closed, there are questions surrounding the future of the Swap Meet.
Every year, about a million people flock to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace. Locals and visitors alike come for snacks, jewelry, clothing and everything in between.
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Kacee Takasaki, owner of Aloha Charms, has been there for four years — rain or shine.
“We had a little bit of rain, but even so we’ve got a pretty good crowd out here,” Takasaki said. “It could be thunderstorms raining. I’ll be here. I love my customers.”
Now that Aloha Stadium is officially closed, there are questions about the future of the swap meet and the 400-plus vendors who rely on it to make a living.
“It worries us because a lot of vendors here. This is all they have,” said Rose Eswierczdynski, owner of Ekahi Eateries. “I’m looking for a shop but we’ll see. I mean the prices to rent something are outrageous. I don’t know. I mean, I just don’t know.”
Samantha Spain, the sales and marketing specialist for Aloha Stadium, wanted to set the record straight.
“We are happy to say that swap meet and marketplace will continue to stay open,” Spain explained.
Because they plan to demolish the Aloha stadium, vendors will have to be moved for safety reasons. But, according to Spain, they plan to move the swap meet to somewhere else on the property.
But, Spain said that probably won’t happen until after the holidays, possibly early 2024. For now, the swap meet will stay put.
“So, right now, what we’re looking at doing is a map layout as well as the infrastructure because we want to be sure that we have restrooms in place that we have tenting as needed electrical if we need it so that when we do finally relocate everyone, we’re ready to go.”
She said they want to make sure the vendors are happy.
“As long as we’re here and we’re open, we’re good,” said Allen Eiselin, owner of The Makana Shop, who’s been there for 18 years.
“I had a store in Honolulu before and it was nice; but it was just too much, not enough customers,” Eiselin said. “Over here, it’s just concentrated, three days a week and guarantee I’m gonna see a lot of people. So, it’s better.”
Spain said the swap meet has been a huge part of the stadium for so many years, since 1979.
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“We have families here that have started with us. There are generations where their kids are taking over so this is their livelihood.”
Spain said its tradition, and they intend to keep it alive.