Kailua’s only record store to change hands after 27 years
Hungry Ear Records & Tapes
, the only actual record store in Kailua, will soon change hands after 27 years in business.
It is one of a few changes that have come to 418 Kuulei Road since its sale in September.
Hungry Ear owner Michelle Yamashiro, widow of co-founder Luke Yamashiro, has run the shop since before her husband's death in April, 2005 and feels the need to do something different.
"The two gentlemen I'm selling to both used to work for Hungry Ear," she said. One, is "one of the first, if not the first employee" and the other had been a long time staffer, "so I feel comfortable passing the torch."
She hopes her successors can work with the new landlord and "take the store to the next level."
Her late husband was once a part-owner of neighboring tenant Coconut Grove Music, co-owned by his sister Roxanne and her husband, Mark Scrufari.
Tenants were paying below-market rents, which have more than doubled since the sale, "but it's still under-market (compared) to what we're finding out there," Scrufari said.
The couple had discussed buying the building, but imagined the cost plus needed improvements would be more than they could assemble. He was stunned to learn the purchase price.
Kailua Heritage LLC, led by Kailua physician Dr. Robert V. Jao and his wife Noriko, bought the building in September for $344,000.
Since then, Boy's Fixit Shop, specializing in small engine repair, and Kuulei Delicatessen, a take-out restaurant, have moved out.
Jao declined to be interviewed.
The owner of Boy's could not be reached, but deli co-owner Richard Nakahashi said he and Jao could not agree on lease terms for the deli.
"Boy's Fixit left at the beginning of the month," and the deli's last day was Oct. 19, Nakahashi said.
He and his wife Dawn bought the eatery four years ago from Miyoko Kochi, who had run it for some 35 years.
They want to relocate, "but it's really kind of a hard time to find spots."
Of the spaces he's looked at, one was an affordable $1,500 a month but lacked a grease trap while two others were $4,000 a month or more.
"I'm going to take a small break until I can find something," Nakahashi said.
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