Some swap meet vendors at Aloha Stadium say they’re getting a raw deal after changes were made to the way shoppers walk through the area.
Management blocked off the areas between gates seven and eight, forcing shoppers to walk into the stadium to get past the barricade. Some vendors tell us that it has forced shoppers to turn around.
Management says it’s for safety reasons and the move will eventually attract more shoppers to the swap meet, but vendors we spoke with are skeptical.
Shoppers coming in from the main entrance generally walk clockwise and by the time they get past the booths by gate 7, there’s a fence. In the past, they could just walk across the path. Now, they have to walk into the stadium to get to the vendors on Gate 8.
“We have to walk all the way around in this heat. It’s very hot. It’s very inconvenient when we see a booth that we like. We have to jump over the fence. I know they don’t want you to,” said shopper Carla Estiamba.
“You’re actually forcing people like cattle to go in a direction that they don’t necessarily want to go. I think by keeping the flow of traffic as it’s been for 40 years, I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” said vendor John Parker.
Vendors at Gate 8 say sales have plummeted since the changes were made in June, while sales at the concession stand inside the stadium have gone up.
“We pay the rent every month. Without us, they don’t have any kind of income,” said vendor Cheri Leong.
The idea is to have a place for customers to relax and cool down, but they also have a longer walk getting there and to get to the vendors on the other side of the barricade.
So we asked Scott Chan, the manager at Aloha Stadium, why the change was made.
He says there’s the safety concern. The path people cross from Gate 7 to 8 is the entrance to the north tunnel, where traffic can be heavy from workers loading and unloading.
“We want to take a proactive stance on this. We should have done it a long time ago,” said Chan.
Chan adds that the area inside will also have live entertainment on the weekends, which should eventually attract more people to the swap meet and bring more business to all the vendors.
“Embrace the change. Give it a chance. We feel that if you do, then we can all be successful in the change,” he said.
Chan says he will meet with the vendors on Sunday and plans to open up some of the barricades to satisfy the unhappy vendors and shoppers.