Monday, July 6, 1998

Marukai to open
Ward market

By Russ Lynch


Marukai Corp. is broadening its membership-fee retailing concept into a new Marukai Market Place in the Ward Farmers Market on Auahi Street.

The 10,500-square-foot Kakaako store, to open in early September, will feature 6,000 square feet of retail space for fresh seafoods, vegetables and meats and 4,500 square feat of storage and processing space. Shoppers will need a Marukai membership card, available for $10 a year to anyone who fills out a form in the store.

Marukai began in 1965 strictly as a wholesale concern, run by Richard and Hidejiro Matsu, sons of the founder of parent company Marukai Trading in Japan. It sold oriental goods to local merchants who retailed the products.

Faced with declining business as prices of goods imported from Japan soared with a rise in the value of the yen, Marukai phased out its wholesale distribution operations and opened Marukai Wholesale Mart in 1987 on Dillingham Boulevard. There, it does its own retailing direct to customers who pay a small annual fee.

The store has developed into an unusual shopping experience that will be extended to the Ward store, which will feature 10,000-plus items and daily preparation and cooking, said Richard Matsu, Marukai executive vice president.

Its main operations will be a Fisherman's Wharf seafood section, the Vegetable Garden and the Beef Ranch.

Mitch D'Olier, president and chief executive officer of land owner Victoria Ward Ltd., said Marukai will bring a unique specialty shopping experience to the Ward merchant mix.

Marukai membership cards will work at the new store and the 120,000-square-foot Dillingham store.

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