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Kauai’s Ishihara Market, is closing

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Kauai’s Ishihara Market

A popular local grocery store that has been in operation for over 75 years, announced its closure on February 28th, 2022. The news has left many residents and visitors saddened, as the store has been an integral part of Kauai‘s culture and community for generations.

History of Ishihara Market

Ishihara Market was founded in 1944 by Hideo Ishihara, who started by selling groceries out of his truck. Over time, the business grew, and in 1952, the Ishihara family opened a small storefront in Waimea, Kauai. In the decades that followed, the market expanded its offerings to include a deli, fresh produce, and a wide variety of local and imported goods. Despite competition from larger grocery chains, Ishihara Market remained a beloved fixture in the community.

Reasons for Closure

The decision to close Ishihara Market was not an easy one for the Ishihara family. In a statement released on their website, they cited various factors that led to their decision, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism and the difficulty of finding and retaining employees. They also noted that they were at a point in their lives where they wanted to retire and spend more time with their families.

Impact on the Community

The closure of Ishihara Market has had a significant impact on the community, which has rallied around the store in various ways. Many residents have expressed their sadness and nostalgia for the market, which was not just a place to buy groceries but also a gathering spot for friends and neighbors. The store was known for its friendly staff, affordable prices, and its support of local farmers and producers.

Efforts to Save the Store

Since the announcement of Ishihara Market’s closure, there have been various efforts to save the store. Some community members have started online petitions, and others have suggested ways to keep the market open, such as converting it into a worker-owned cooperative. However, as of now, the Ishihara family has not announced any plans to sell the store.

Moving Forward

The closure of Ishihara Market is a reminder of the challenges facing small businesses in Hawaii and elsewhere. It also highlights the importance of supporting local businesses, which are often the lifeblood of their communities. While the loss of Ishihara Market is a significant one, it is also an opportunity for the community to come together and support other local businesses in the area.

Conclusion

Kauai’s Ishihara Market was more than just a grocery store - it was a cultural institution and a beloved gathering spot for generations of residents and visitors. Its closure has left a void in the community, but it also provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of supporting small businesses and preserving local culture. While the future of Ishihara Market remains uncertain, its legacy will undoubtedly live on in the hearts and memories of those who knew and loved it.

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