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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 29, 2007

Kilgo's closes after 61 years at Sand Island

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kilgo's, an emporium of household, industrial, fishing and garden supplies long before the arrival of more modern big-box hardware stores in Hawai'i, has closed its doors after 61 years of business.

Company Chief Executive Officer Kathleen Kaauwai announced the shutdown of the company's sprawling Sand Island store yesterday with little fanfare or advance warning.

Kaauwai said remaining merchandise will be liquidated in coming weeks. The first sale will begin at noon Saturday. It will be followed by an auction of remaining inventory, furniture, fixtures and equipment later in May.

The store was founded in 1946 by A.L. Kilgo, an Alabama businessman who came to Hawai'i in the early days of World War II and was renowned for his ability to acquire hard-to-find surplus goods for the Navy's civilian employees at Pearl Harbor.

When the surplus items became scarce in the 1970s, Kilgo focused on hardware items, and the store became one of the state's largest suppliers of building, marine and industrial supplies, expanding from a Quonset hut to eventually cover 7 acres.

A.L. Kilgo died in 2000.

In recent years, the store had received more competition from Home Depot, Lowe's, City Mill and other large retailers, several of which have flagship stores within a few miles of Kilgo's.

"Kilgo's would like to thank its dedicated employees and loyal customers for their patronage throughout the years," Kaauwai said.

The employees of the store will receive severance pay and medical benefits, she added.

Reach Mike Leidemann at mleidemann@honoluluadvertiser.com.