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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 14, 2004

Times to purchase Fujioka's wine shop

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Times Super Markets will buy Fujioka's Wine Merchants at Market City Shopping Center and hire owner Lyle Fujioka as the supermarkets' new wine consultant to try to boost the quality of Times' wine selection.

Times president Roger Godfrey and Fujioka, who have known each other for years, have been negotiating the deal for the past six months, Godfrey said. He declined to reveal the purchase price.

Fujioka will continue to run the Market City store, which will be renamed Fujioka's Wine Times.

The handful of Fujioka's employees will now work for Times, Godfrey said.

Fujioka's wine bar next door is not part of the purchase and will continue to operate as is.

Wines from Fujioka's Wine Merchants will soon appear in Times Super Markets' 12 O'ahu stores after the Honolulu Liquor Commission granted a temporary license transfer Thursday night.

But the operational details of bringing Fujioka's wine selections inside the Times markets have yet to be worked out.

They could include a presence for the Fujioka name. But Times has no plans to duplicate Foodland's and R. Field Wine Co.'s "store-within-a store" concept, Godfrey said.

Times became interested in Fujioka because "he's got a comprehensive selection of wines," Godfrey said. "He's got some quality wines at a competitive price, which is really how he's driven his business. His philosophy ties in with ours: offer a good price on a good product."

Asked to describe Times' current wine selection, Godfrey said: "It can be improved. Let's just say that."

Times officials will begin inventorying Fujioka's merchandise tomorrow, but Godfrey is uncertain exactly when Fujioka's wines will appear in Times markets.

The renamed Fujioka's Wine Times "will essentially be the same," Godfrey said. "We'll clean it up a little bit, make some cosmetic changes. Very minor. It'll just be business as usual. Then we will have Lyle upgrade and update the wine in all of our stores."

The Fujioka family has been in business for three generations, running a Hale'iwa market. In 1990, Lyle Fujioka began focusing on wine sales, eventually opening a separate wine store at Market City Shopping Center.

Times Super Market was founded in 1949 and is Hawai'i's third-largest supermarket retailer. It is owned by Quinn Supers Inc., an affiliate of PAQ Inc. of Stockton, Calif.

Reach Dan Nakaso at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8085.