Ala Moana Center Foodland closing Dec. 13

A sad reminder: You have just one more day to shop at Foodland in Ala Moana Center. The store, which has been there since the mall first opened in August 1959, closes its doors for good tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 13.

Another longtime tenant is leaving Ala Moana Center, a local company that was there when the mall first opened.

The cranes and the construction crews that we see at Ala Moana herald the change that is coming to the shopping center in the coming years, as the mall will welcome new shops and even condominiums.

But with the upcoming departure of Foodland, we are also seeing some of the familiar shops going away.

“But now it’s all the construction and they’re bringing in all the mainland retailers, so it’s kind of sad that they’re going to move,” said Foodland shopper Eulie Villegas.

In a statement, Foodland says the decision to close this month was not an easy one “but the challenges and costs of operating a store in this location today made it impossible for us to justify staying.”

Foodland was founded here in Hawaii in 1948 and opened a market at Ala Moana when the mall opened in 1959. It was originally located in the area that is now the center’s food court until its move to its present location in 1986. The market went through two renovations in 1995 and 2007.

Real estate expert Stephany Sofos says local stores are losing out to big national, and even international, retailers.

“A lot of people say they like mom-and-pop stores,” she said, “but they don’t really like the mom-and-pops because they like the convenience and the pricing that national and international tenants can give them.

“But it’s sad to see the mom-and-pops go away because they are the fabric, the history, the flavor of Hawaii, and it’s sad to see that go away.”

Foodland says it has placed all 66 of its Ala Moana store employees at other store locations on Oahu.

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