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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Home Depot plans to open store in Kona

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Home Depot is continuing its recent local expansion with an anticipated opening of a store next summer in Kona, the retailer's fourth Hawai'i store.

The Atlanta-based home-improvement chain is buying 12 acres next to Costco at Koloko Business Park in a deal valued at just under $4 million. The purchase is expected to close in the next couple of months.

If plans proceed, construction of a 140,000-square-foot store could begin by the end of the year, according to company spokesman Chuck Sifuentes. Roughly 150 to 200 employees would be hired.

Home Depot joins other large merchandisers in Kona, including Wal-Mart, Kmart and Costco, which sells lumber and other building materials, but the new store would be the first dedicated to home improvement.

"It's going to be tough for everybody," said Rocky Campbell, president of Trojan Lumber Co. True Value in Kailua, Kona. "This is a pretty small town still. It is a tight market. Everybody is going to have to adjust."

Campbell said he figured it was "only a matter of time" before Home Depot opened a store in Kona. His 28-year-old company has been thinking for a while about new strategies for coexistence, including filling niches that Home Depot does not address.

The Kona Home Depot will stock the usual 40,000 to 50,000 items. It will also dedicate 24,000 square feet to a garden center, which would be significantly bigger than garden centers at the company's other Hawai'i stores.

Home Depot first entered the state in 1999 with a 145,000-square-foot store in Iwilei. This year, the company opened two similarly sized stores, one in Pearl City and one in Kahului.

Sifuentes said Home Depot is not actively considering any other sites for further expansion in Hawai'i. Home Depot had previously considered locating stores in the Hawai'i Kai and Ala Moana areas, but both properties proved unworkable.

Koloko Business Park is a 42-acre industrial subdivision owned by TSA Corp. Besides Costco and Home Depot, other users include a roofing company, steel fabricator, lumber company, mini-storage operation, auto body shop and beverage distributor.