Oahu’s first Best Buy
will open next week in Iwilei

National consumer electronics retailer Best Buy will open its first Oahu store July 29 in Iwilei and has hired more people than it initially expected.

It has been a long time coming. News that the company was location-shopping in Hawaii surfaced in November 2001. Best Buy plans to open a second Oahu store in Pearl City in October.

The 50,000-square-foot Iwilei store will throw open its doors at 478 Alakawa St., across from fellow big-box retailers Home Depot and Costco.

Minnesota-based Best Buy Co. has hired 190 people for the store, versus the projected 120, because it expects a lot of business when the outlet opens. Some of the employees will transfer to the 52,000-square-foot Pearl City store when it opens later, said Kimo Cano, general manager of the Leeward Oahu Best Buy.

Cano was the mainland-based manager who helped open Oahu's first Home Depot in Iwilei several years ago. He returned to the mainland, was recruited by Best Buy four years ago and was asked to help open the Hawaii stores. He's been back on Oahu for a year.

Best Buy "hired a majority of managers here locally and have been training most of them since October or November of last year," Cano said.

Best Buy had announced the Pearl City store before the Iwilei store, but the Pearl City opening had been delayed because needed zoning changes were vetoed by then-Mayor Jeremy Harris. The City Council voted unanimously to override the veto last year.

The Iwilei grand opening will feature a performance by Aunty Genoa Keawe, a blessing by Kahu David Kaupu and a $10,000 check presentation to the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii.

Other headlining Hawaii recording artists will appear for mini-concerts on July 29 through July 31.

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