Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Cheapo was formerly Jelly's at Puck's Alley on
the corner of University and King streets.

In a name jam,
Jelly’s rolls out
new signs

The stores are now
Cheapo Music, but the
products will stay

By Treena Shapiro

Bright red Cheapo Music signs have cropped up where the name Jelly's once hung at the chain's three stores on Oahu, but so far that is all that has changed.

The music, comics and book stores have actually been owned and operated by the Midwest chain for two years and changed names to reflect their ownership a couple weeks ago because Jelly's original owners have opened a new store under the original name.

Cheapo's general manager Gary Usher said the stores at Puck's Alley, Makaloa Street and Pearl Kai Shopping Center will now be reconfigured to match the 20 Cheapo stores on the mainland, but will continue to carry the same products -- new and used music and books -- as well as other items, such as crystals and feng shui items.

"Cheapo's continues with Jelly's unique product lines," Usher said.

Usher, who has been with the company for the last 10 years, said he had not wanted to give up the Jelly's name. "We put millions of dollars into the name Jelly's over the past 10 years. I didn't want to lose it if I didn't have to," he said.

However, he said he was not going to have two Jelly's stores on the island.

The remaining Jelly's is on Hekaha Street behind Cutter Ford in Aiea.

Co-owner Norm Winter calls it the "old-style" Jelly's, owned and operated by the people who opened it in the 1980s.

Like Cheapo's, Jelly's also carries new and used books, games, comics and music and features a large selection of used vinyl albums.

So that there is no confusion, the sign over the door reads Jelly's: The Original Books, Comics, Games and Music Store.

This time around, Jelly's also has a coffee and sandwich bar: Jelly's Delly.

Winter, who owned Jelly's from 1983 to 1993, sold the store to two mainland distributors after running into financial difficulty with Radio Free Hawaii.

"They ran the company without me in the picture for the last seven years," he said.

In May 1999, Jelly's was sold to Cheapo Music, which continued to operate the store under the well-known name.

Winter said the original sales agreement in 1994 only gave the owners rights to the name for five years. "For two years they were running the name without authorization," he said.

Usher, however, said Cheapo bought rights to the name when it purchased the stores.

The dispute was settled out of court early this month, right before the new Cheapo signs went up.

Although the new Jelly's has been in business since May, Winter said the store will not officially open until the end of September.

"It's just going to take time to get Jelly's at full speed again," Winter said.

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