Saturday | October 21, 2017
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Keaau Village Market moving

Keaau business owners are scrambling as the Keaau Village Market prepares to move to a new a location, with the current location to be demolished.

Bill Walter, president of W.H. Shipman Ltd., which owns the land, said the farmer’s market on Old Volcano Road in Keaau would be moved to “a more suitable location,” before the location is demolished to make room for a new occupant.

The farmers market will be moved next to the Shell gas station just south of the market, Walter said. The market’s many produce vendors and the six tenants who lease commercial space at the market, meanwhile, have until Oct. 15 to vacate the premises.

One tenant, Sheila Varize, co-owner of Ohana Beauty Salon, said she only heard about the impending move a few weeks ago.

“We didn’t get too much notice,” Varize said. “But people had talked about it happening for a while, so we weren’t surprised or anything.”

Varize and her business partner, Sherry Fox, have owned and operated Ohana Beauty Salon for more than 10 years, longer than any other business at the market. Fox said they are ready to move their business to a new location, but considered the abruptness of the move “weird.”

Jan Green, owner of market business Shaka Chic, said tenants initially were promised six months of notice to leave when rumors of a move began.

“I didn’t expect to be given just 30 days,” Green said, adding that she had only heard about the move at all from the produce vendors.

Although Green said she was scrambling to move her property out by the Oct. 15 deadline, she added that she ultimately would be fine. However, she was less certain about how produce vendors would fare by the move.

“I feel like we’ve all been treated cavalierly,” Green said. Green has owned and operated Shaka Chic for eight years.

Fox and Varize received notice of their lease termination Sept. 16. The notice cited “circumstances beyond our control” as the reason for the short notice.

Walter declined to identify the business that will take the place of the market, only saying that “a new entity will be moving in.” However, Varize and Fox said they heard rumors that a Walgreens would be built there.

Representatives of Walgreens did not respond by press time.

Walter confirmed that significant construction would be necessary before a new tenant can move in. The necessary demolition before such construction can occur will happen “shortly,” he said.

Ohana Beauty Salon will reopen at a new location on Keaau-Pahoa Road, while Shaka Chic will move to a new location in Hilo. Other businesses at the market, primarily restaurants, were already shuttered by Monday.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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