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Makawao Down to Earth closes its doors


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POSTED: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Down to Earth Natural Foods has shuttered its store in Makawao, which had been open 17 years, due to tough economic times.

It was the Maui-based company's smallest store, at about 3,000 square feet.

Sales had slowed by a significant amount, according to a press release issued by the store, to the point that it was no longer financially viable to keep it open.

Maui County's vigorous enforcement of rules against vacation rentals, a big part of upcountry Maui's economy, was also cited as part of the reason for the closure.

The lease on the Makawao store expires today, so the store was shuttered at the end of January.

“;We are deeply grateful for the efforts that the Makawao team put into trying to make the store succeed,”; said Down to Earth CEO Mark Fergusson. “;Unfortunately, the effects of the economic slowdown and the ending of vacation rentals were just too strong. We will make every effort to provide positions to our Makawao team members in our Kahului store.”;

The Down to Earth Kahului store was remodeled in 2007, and is the chain's largest, at 9,000 square feet. The Kahului store will remain open, along with three other stores on Oahu - a flagship store on S. King Street in Honolulu, at Pearlridge Center in Aiea and in Kailua.

“;Down to Earth is committed to be in business for the long term, and will survive the current economic challenges as we have during other difficult times in our 30-year history,”; said Fergusson. “;Down to Earth Kahului, and our other stores, continue to do well and will be in business serving our customers and promoting the living of a healthy lifestyle for years to come.”;