APPLE COMING TO KAHALA MALL
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Apple Store at Ala Moana Center, pictured yesterday, will soon have its first sister on Oahu, in Kahala Mall. The new store is expected to open by the end of this year. CLICK FOR LARGE
Apple hiring for new Kahala Mall store
The location will be the computer retailer's second outlet on Oahu
APPLE COMPUTER is hiring for its second Apple Store on Oahu, which is expected to open at Kahala Mall by the end of this year.
It's expected to occupy about 5,000 square feet in what was formerly the ground-floor Gap space at Kahala Mall.
"I think it will be a really exciting addition," General Manager Ron Yoda said. "It will revitalize the mall, and I think the demographics of Kahala (are) perfect for the Apple store, which is in a very convenient location."
Yoda said lease negotiations went on for at least six months, and that it remained up to Apple to make the new store announcement.
Job listings posted Friday for the Kahala location on Apple's Web site, jobs.apple.com, included store manager, assistant store manager, Mac genius, Mac specialist, inventory control specialist and retail business consultant.
The jobs also are posted on honolulu.craigslist.org.
Jenn Neves, a manager at the Ala Moana Apple store, confirmed that the Kahala store would be open by the end of the year, but declined to give more specifics.
Apple Computer Inc., based in Cupertino, Calif., has 156 retail stores nationwide, with the newest addition in Miami Beach, Fla.
Apple opened its first store in Hawaii at the mall level of Ala Moana Center in May 2003.
The store often is packed with browsers, whether they are listening to iPod tunes or trying out the latest software, accessories and laptops.
It remains one of the top-performing tenants at Ala Moana, according to Sharon James, regional vice president of marketing for owner General Growth Properties Inc., who said the store seems to capture a share of both the local as well as visitor markets.
"They do a great job of marketing and staying connected to the consumers," James said. "They have a very loyal audience."
Many of the tenants at Kahala Mall are either moving or expanding, according to Yoda.
The space for Apple was reconfigured to create a better fit for the new tenant. Apple is expected to move into the former ground-floor Gap space and part of the former Footlocker space at the mall.
Gap left the mall after its lease went up last year, while Footlocker decided not to renew its lease following the mall's flood in March.
Yoda said many of the leases were coming up even before the flood and that the mall had plans to bring in new tenants. Another new tenant is expected to fill space vacated by Borders Express.
The upstairs Gap space, meanwhile, will be leased out to Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, which is expanding; Finance Factors; and Ka Hale I'o Kahala Halau, the hula studio that is relocating to the second level.
Ron Martin, president and CEO of Success Dynamics, a retail consulting company, said the format and setup of the Apple retail stores seems to strike a chord with consumers, with concepts like the "Genius Bar" and open-style displays.
"I think it will definitely be an asset to Kahala Mall," Martin said. "It's an absolute natural for Apple to open there for their success."