HOW Con­ve­nient

Find out why Waikiki’s sundry stores are so pop­u­lar.

Waikiki Magazine - - ISHOP - By Christina O’Connor

Ev­ery trav­eler knows that sink­ing feel­ing you get when you re­al­ize, af­ter check­ing into your ho­tel fol­low­ing a long flight, that you for­got your tooth­brush. Ev­ery beach­goer knows what it’s like to fi­nally find a spot on the sand, af­ter bat­tling park­ing lots, only to dig through your bag for sun­screen and come up empty-handed.

But here in Waikiki, those feel­ings are only as fleet­ing as the amount of time it takes to walk to the near­est con­ve­nience store—which, as you have likely no­ticed, prob­a­bly isn’t very far from wher­ever you picked up this mag­a­zine.

Whether you’re look­ing to stock up on snacks be­fore an around-the-is­land ad­ven­ture or fuel up for a night out, any one of the con­ve­nience stores around town will have you cov­ered.

Ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­a­tion for Con­ve­nience and Fuel Re­tail­ing, the con­cept for th­ese types of shops orig­i­nated in Texas in the 1920s when a South­land Ice Com­pany store started car­ry­ing items to cater to cus­tomers who needed to shop af­ter the gro­cery stores had closed for the day. The idea soon spread through­out the com­pany, and mean­while, other sim­i­lar con­cepts be­gan to take hold through­out the coun­try. Th­ese stores thrived, it seemed, on the in­creas­ingly fast-paced Amer­i­can cul­ture and rise in the pop­u­lar­ity of au­to­mo­biles. Th­ese new hy­brids were like gen­eral stores for the mod­ern world.

In ac­cor­dance with the rest of the coun­try, con­ve­nience stores be­came pop­u­lar in Waikiki around mid­cen­tury—an era when the streets of Waikiki were just be­gin­ning to bus­tle with a hint of the rush that was to come. The stores thrived—and con­tinue to thrive—on the vis­i­tor in­dus­try, pro­vid­ing a much-needed ser­vice to Waikiki’s ever-chang­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Per­haps no­body ex­plains the per­va­sive­ness of con­ve­nience stores in the area bet­ter than ABC Stores di­rec­tor of pub­lic re­la­tions Neil Ishida.

“When you walk out of a ho­tel when you are vis­it­ing Hawai‘i, your time is very valu­able, and your bud­get is, too,” Ishida says. “You are look­ing for some­thing that is rea­son­able, con­ve­nient and fa­mil­iar.”

Here’s an over­view of some of the con­ve­nience stores you will find around Waikiki:

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