FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
The planned Whole Foods Market in Kailua will move into the area that Straub Clinic, left, has vacated and First Hawaiian Bank, right, currently occupies. CLICK FOR LARGE
Whole Foods bags Kahului, Kailua sites
The two newest locations being at the Maui Mall Shopping Center in Kahului and in Kailua town
STORY SUMMARY »
First it was Kakaako, then Kahala Mall, and now it will also be Kahului in Maui and Kailua town.
GROWING IN THE ISLES
New Whole Foods Market locations set for Hawaii, with their approximate sizes and expected opening dates.
» Kahala Mall, 26,000 square feet, spring 2008
» Ward Village Shops, 67,000 square feet, undetermined
» Maui Mall Shopping Center, 26,300 square feet, late 2008/early 2009
» Kailua, 40,000 square feet, 2010
Source: Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market yesterday announced stores for two more Hawaii locations, including its first on a neighbor island.
The Texas-based natural foods grocer said it will open a market at Maui Mall Shopping Center in late 2008 or early 2009. That will be followed by a market in Kailua in 2010. Hawaii's first Whole Foods Market, previously announced, is set to debut at Kahala Mall next spring.
Whole Foods said it reached a deal with Castle Family LLC and Kaneohe Ranch to build a new store in Kailua. Mitch D'Olier, president and chief executive of Kaneohe Ranch, said the store will enrich the town's shopping experience.
Whole Foods Market's original plans to open its first store on a six-acre site at Ward Village Shops in Kakaako has been stalled due to the discovery there of more than 50 sets of iwi, or native Hawaiian remains. That opening date is now uncertain.
FULL STORY »
Whole Foods Market will make its entry to Hawaii with multiple sites -- the two newest locations being at the Maui Mall Shopping Center in Kahului and in Kailua town.
This is in addition to stores planned earlier at the Ward Village Shops and Kahala Mall, the latter of which is expected to open next spring.
The Maui Mall Shopping Center is expected to open in late 2008 or early 2009 at the site of an existing Star Market. The one in Kailua is expected to open in 2010.
Mitch D'Olier, president and chief executive of Kaneohe Ranch, said he was proud to have ironed out the deal, which had been in the works for some time.
"This store, along with the other stores set to open along Kailua Road, will greatly enrich the lifestyle and shopping experience of Kailua's residents," D'Olier said. "They (Whole Foods) are supporting small farmers here on Oahu, and we think that fits in really well in Kailua. We think productwise and qualitywise, it's an enhancement of our place."
The new Whole Foods Market in Kailua, which will measure about 40,000 square feet, will occupy the current site of First Hawaiian Bank and the former Straub Clinic.
It would be the company's second-largest planned Hawaii store after another one originally planned at the former Ward Village Shops site -- which has since been tied up by the discovery of more than 50 sets of iwi, or native Hawaiian remains.
General Growth Properties is still working with the state on plans for the remains as well as the project, which was to include a Whole Foods Market, retail shops, a parking garage and 17-story rental condo tower on six acres.
Whole Foods said it understood that General Growth was continuing to work with the state historic preservation division on handling the iwi "with the utmost respect, sensitivity and care."
Thus far, no opening date has been set for the Ward store.
D'Olier said the Kailua site had been slated for redevelopment according to a master plan Kaneohe Ranch outlined earlier with community input.
The theme set by the newly redeveloped Longs Drug store, now home to Pier 1 Imports as well as a California Pizza Kitchen ASAP, will continue down Kailua Road toward the former Straub Clinic, a small strip of shops and the existing First Hawaiian Bank.
Whole Foods also will feature a suite of shops fronting Kailua Road, said D'Olier, making it pedestrian friendly.
Existing tenants, such as Manuheali'i and Island Treasures, will be relocated.
Straub Clinic already has moved across the street. GMAC Mortgage already vacated its space and is moving above Pier 1 Imports.
First Hawaiian Bank, meanwhile, has entered a long-term lease with Kaneohe Ranch and will build a new branch -- larger than the existing one -- behind Mike McKenna's Ford dealership.
Construction of the new First Hawaiian branch is expected to begin next year, with the expected completion date in the first quarter of 2009.
"I think it's good for everybody around, including the town," said McKenna of his new neighbors. "Whole Foods is going to be a winner and the new branch of the bank is going to be even better than the one we got. We're very happy."
Michael Besancon, president of Whole Foods' southern Pacific region, said the company was excited to be a part of Kailua.
"We believe this community has a lifestyle that fits the products we offer and the environmentally responsible mindset that we promote as part of our company philosophy," Besancon said. "We look forward to working with local vendors and stocking our shelves with as many made-in-Hawaii products as possible."
The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation runs a Thursday evening farmers market featuring locally grown produce at the parking garage behind Longs Drug, which has been popular with local residents.
Kailua already is home to Safeway, Foodland, Times Supermarket, Down to Earth Natural Foods and Don Quijote.
Ken Sanders, president of the Kailua Chamber of Commerce, said residents will have plenty of choices.
"It will probably be a destination for quite a few people," said Sanders of the new Whole Foods. "I'm sure they did a lot of research, and it shows the confidence they have in the Kailua population to support the kind of products they're bringing to our marketplace."
The well-touted, though sometimes scrutinized, Whole Foods philosophy is that it supports local, preferably organic and sustainable, products.
Whole Foods, which recorded $5.6 billion in sales last year, said it believes in selling the highest-quality natural products available, defining "local" as less than seven hours from the farm to its facility.
It also is a supporter of the humane treatment of animals for its meat department -- going so far as to once have built "condos" for the lobsters in its live lobster tanks.
Whole Foods Market, so far, has selected three local producers -- Ma'o Farms, Poamoho Organic Produce and Hamakua Springs Country Farm -- with more to come.