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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 28, 2010

Plans of shoppers, golfers, bride left high and dry

By Rob Perez
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The Hawaii Kai Towne Center, including the Costco store, stayed closed yesterday morning.

ANDREW GOMES | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Phillip Rother filled up gas cans at his Kašašawa neighborhood 7-Eleven store early yesterday ľ as signs announced that the store would close at 8 a.m. That 7-Eleven is in the tsunami risk zone marked on state maps.

NORMAN SHAPIRO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The sign said it all at the Cheesecake Factory in Waik´k´ĺs Royal Hawaiian Center. It was true of a lot of businesses.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The threat of a coming tsunami prompted the closure yesterday of hundreds of near-shore businesses throughout Hawai'i and disrupted scores of sporting events, community functions and at least one beachside wedding.

Tommy Jaramillo and Catheryn Robertson, both of New Mexico, had to postpone their morning wedding at a Waimānalo beach because of the tsunami.

The ceremony, planned through Above Heaven's Gate, had been arranged since November and was to be attended by about 20 guests from four states. It was rescheduled for this morning.

"This is something we'll definitely remember," said Robertson, who also had to evacuate from the Waimānalo home she and her fiance were staying at yesterday morning.

Because of the possibility of destructive waves inundating low-lying coastal areas, many businesses near the coasts didn't open yesterday until mid-afternoon, once the all-clear signal was given and nearby roads reopened. Ala Moana Center, the state's largest mall, was among those that welcomed customers by mid-afternoon.

Some businesses remained closed all day, along with parks, libraries, municipal golf courses and other public facilities.

At Pearlridge Center, which is not in an inundation zone, only about half the retailers opened as usual in the morning. Yet the mall reported a steady stream of customers, many of whom had evacuated from their near-shore homes and decided to wait it out at Pearlridge.

"Just in general, there was a lot of people there" in the morning, said mall spokeswoman Deborah Sharkey.

Not all retailers took a hit because of the tsunami.

Some scored extra sales as residents hit store aisles early in the morning to buy bottled water, food and other staples, and motorists packed gas stations to fill their car tanks.

The tsunami wreaked havoc with sporting events throughout the state, including prompting cancellation of high school wrestling and tennis matches and the postponement of several University of Hawai'i events.