When the reconstructed Ewa wing of Ala Moana Center opens in the fall, it will include the return in 2016 of a longtime, local retailer as well.
Foodland announced this weekend that a new 47,000 square-foot flagship store, Foodland Farms, will open in July of next year on the street level beneath the new Nordstrom department store on Piikoi Street.
Plans for the new store are currently being drafted and construction of the store will start later this year. It will feature The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, R. Field Wine Company, a pharmacy, an in-store bank and an expanded array of fresh prepared foods.
The original market, which was the original tenants of Ala Moana Center back in 1959, closed its doors in December 2014 when the company decided not to renew its lease.
Foodland vice-chairman Roger Wall told KHON2 News that the store wasn’t performing as well as it could in its last years at the mall. But sometime after its closing, Wall said they got a call from the shopping complex, asking Foodland to take a look at a new location they had in mind.
While he didn’t reveal a sales forecast for the newly named Foodland Farms, Wall did say he anticipates it will be among the best in the chain of supermarkets.
“From a business standpoint, we have been wanting to beef up our presence in the urban quarter,” he said.
So what factors are bringing Foodland back to the shopping mall? “The location, the size of the store, the parking, this exposure right here on Piikoi Street,” said Wall.
Compared to the old Foodland Ala Moana at 18,500 square feet, the new supermarket will be two-and-a-half times larger, and will employ a staff of approximately 100.
“Our old store had the highest customer traffic in our entire chain of stores. Every day, it was a really busy place. but by virtue of the smaller store size, we couldn’t offer the full range of products that people wanted to do all their grocery shopping. So we actually had our lowest average transaction of all our stores in that location.”
There are plans for Foodland Farms to provide a “will call” service for customers to shop and have their groceries held for pickup at a later time. When ready, shoppers can pull into designated parking stalls in front of the store and have their groceries brought to their car.
Real estate analyst Stephany Sofos said this is an opportunity for a local retailer like Foodland to reestablish themselves in the market.
“If you don’t compete with the big boys,” she said, “with your national and international competitors, and you keep trying to lower and make yourself smaller, trying to cover your costs as time goes on, you are going to die because you cannot grow.”
With the opening of Foodland Farms at Ala Moana Center next year, this means consumers will now have more options of where to shop, what with a 50,000 square foot Whole Foods flagship store opening just a few blocks away in Ward Village in 2017.