What’s happening with the mounting exit traffic at the Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai?

You know that Zippy’s will discontinue dine-in, with the last day for service on Feb. 5. However, take-out will continue at the snack bar — at least through the end of this year.

But Hawaii National Bank — on Lunalilo Road, next to the service station –will cease operations for good, too, on May 5.  Unlike one-time neighbor Bank of Hawaii, which previously had a spacious facility but downsized at another location facing Kalanianaole Highway, Hawaii National  is instructing customers to do future banking at its Kaimuki branch.

Another merchant — Al Phillips, the laundry — shut down last November  with little notice.

Thus, there are many open spaces in this suburban mall.

What’s in the water there, with so many closures and abandoned retail space?

After the former Ben Franklin craft store closed to move to the Kaimuki vicinity, across Kaimuki High School, there were other tenants, including Pricebusters, a discount store, and it had a good run. Years after it shut down, an  emporium targeting gaming fans opened and shut quickly, due to scanty patronage.

Across the way, a Japanese restaurant opened, then closed, and did a re-launch, but finally threw in the towel for good, following a dismal run.  A new tenant, Happiness, is a set to occupy that space, next door to Assaggio, though dubiously; this new operator may not have heard that Sophie’s pizzeria closed a few doors away last year.

I support many neighborhood merchants, so it’s worrisome that  that the eight-screen Koko Marina multi-plex is struggling to draw cinephiles. Hope it can survive the skimpy viewership until new blockbuster titles  — like sequels such as “Avatar” and “Top Gun” — start filling the seats. At the large-screen No. 8 theater last weekend, there were only five patrons at a matinee screening.

The pandemic can’t be wholly blamed, but other smaller malls across Oahu don’t seem to have this kind of declining traffic and empty spaces after shut-downs.

What goes? Can’t merely point to inflation either; everyone’s hurting but clearly, merchants can’t keep up with the loss of profit margins due to a lack of patronage. …

Steel guitar festival in Kona

A three-day Kona Steel Guitar Festival is slated for March 23, 24 and 25 at the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa in Keauhou, on the Big Island.

Alan Akaka

Participating steel guitarists performing March 23 include Alan Akaka, Pomai Brown, Al Greene, Jr., Bobby Ingano, Kapono Lopes, Patti Maxine, Greg Sardinha, Dwight Tokumoto, and Geronimo “Geri” Valdriz. NextGen steel guitarists include Enosa Lyman, Makamae Lyu-Napoleon, Isaballa Bertelmann, Joey Misailidis, and Pono Fernandez.  Kimo Kahoano will be master of ceremonies.

On March 24 and 25, the kanikapila will welcome community guitarists to bring their instruments and perform along with other festival troupers. Those requiring amplification should bring their own batter-operated amplifier.

The event, free to the public, is sponsored by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE), Ke Kula Mele Hawaii School of Hawaiian Music and the Outrigger Kona hotel.

Information about all HIMELE-produced Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festivals and livestream events is available at http://steelguitarfestivals.com/

Broadway grosses, week ending Jan. 29

Posting a closing date has been beneficial for “Phantom of the Opera,” which again tops the weekly gross list.

The show, Broadway’s longest-running musical, has posted an extended April 16 at the Majestic Theatre, and fans continue to flock to see hear the music of the night and watch the chandelier fall.

The top seven shows with the top grosses in New York:

1 – “Phantom,” $2.483 million.

2 – “Funny Girl,” $1.872 million.

3 – “Hamilton,” $1.871 million.

4 – “The Lion King,” $1.695 million.

5 – “MJ,” $1.584 million.

6 – “Wicked,” $1.549 million.

7 – “Moulin Rouge,” $1.376 million.

Here’s the full tally is courtesy The Broadway Guild. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


  1. Too bad all the businesses are gone from Koko Marina shopping center. I used to like to go up there when I stayed with my hanai family when I came home to Honolulu. I guess people are watching their money and not going out to see movies or shop much anymore..

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