Kaneohe Ranch

Whole Foods Sets Opening Date for Kailua

Whole Foods sets opening date for Kailua

February 16, 2012
By Kristen Consillio
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The natural, organic food supermarket will debut its third Hawaii store April 18.

Whole Foods Market will open its Kailua store on April 18 and is hiring approximately 140 employees to staff it.

The 32,000-square-foot store situated between Longs Drugs and Mike McKenna’s Windward Ford dealership is Whole Foods’ third Hawaii location, joining its stores at Kahala Mall and Maui Mall in Kahului.

“We truly believe that Whole Foods Market’s mission and lifestyle aligns with those of the Kailua community,” said Tim Talkington, Kailua store team leader, in a news release. The Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods is a natural and organic food supermarket with more than 310 stores in North America and the United Kingdom.

“Many (of the new employees at the Kailua store) are residents of the Windward community and looking forward to being able to work closer to home,” Talkington said.

Kaneohe Ranch Co., which owns the land and building, invested $12 million to consolidate what used to be a collection of smaller buildings measuring 70,000 square feet at the site to 40,000 square feet in the new building. It also increased parking spaces to 209 stalls from 167.

In addition to Whole Foods, the building has several smaller shops. Executive Chef, a local retailer offering high-end cookware and gourmet food, opened a store in a space next to McKenna’s, while fashion boutique Fighting Eel has leased space next to Longs, helping to fill another 8,000 square feet of retail space. Paul Brown will open a salon this summer and a small 500-square-foot space has yet to be leased by Kaneohe Ranch.

“Certainly the Kailua community has embraced Whole Foods Market,” said Kimo Steinwascher, vice president of Kaneohe Ranch, which leases the building to Whole Foods. “Our phones are ringing off the hook because (people are) wanting to know when they’re going to be open. We’re working on traffic control, crowd control and parking issues because we think there will be throngs of people coming to see it.”

Meanwhile, Target, the nation’s second largest discount retailer, behind only Walmart, plans to open a 130,000-square-foot store a block and a half away at the former Don Quijote. Target hopes to open later this year, though it is still in the process of getting building permits.

Whole Foods said it will donate 5 percent of its net sales on designated days to local nonprofits or educational organizations. The first donation, from sales on April 25, will go to Paepae o He‘eia, a nonprofit that cares for the ancient Heeia Fishpond near Kaneohe.

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