Wednesday, September 22, 1999

Big things sought from new
operator of flea market

By Debra Barayuga


The state is hoping the new operator chosen to manage the Aloha Stadium swap meet beginning Oct. 1 will bring in more business.

But the attorney for the Aloha Flea Market, which has held the contract for the past 20 years, said the state essentially has killed the competition.

The state yesterday awarded a two-year contract to market, coordinate and manage the flea market to movie theater company Consolidated Amusement Co.

"They're a strong, solid company and their fee was the lowest proposed," said Lloyd Unebasami, state procurement officer.

Consolidated has run the Super Swap Meet at the Kam Drive-In, across Pearlridge Center, for the past 35 years and operates eight swap meets on the mainland.

Consolidated President Phil Shimmin said the flea market at Aloha Stadium should be running Oct. 2.

"We know the business well and we're looking forward to a smooth transition," he said.

Unebasami said only one-third, or only 300 to 400 of the parking stalls that circle the stadium, are used by vendors during the swap meet. "We're hoping (Consolidated) will increase business for us."

The state opened the contract for bid in August, saying it could generate more money by issuing a request for proposals. Bidders were told to assume that the state would make $4 million and to indicate what percentage they would seek from the state.

The Stadium Authority did not return calls for comment.

Consolidated offered the lowest bid at 12 percent, compared with 25 percent by unsuccessful bidder Regal Travel.

Under the current contract, Aloha Flea Market president Edward Medeiros paid the state $16,000 per rental day -- $3.8 million in the past year, he said. With the new arrangement, the state will pay Consolidated a minimum of $15,000 a month or 12 percent of gross annual receipts generated by the flea market, whichever is greater.

If the state makes $4 million a year, it will pay Consolidated $480,000 and net close to $3.5 million, Unebasami said.

The announcement that Consolidated was taking over after Sept. 30 came as no surprise to Aloha Flea Market attorney Bob Merce, who has lost challenges in the state and federal courts to stop the state from taking over the successful business built over the past 20 years by Medeiros.

If competition is important in the marketplace, the state has done its best to destroy it, Merce said.

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