Pier 1 Imports will open its fifth Hawaii store, the first on Hawaii Island, in Kona on Friday. The blessing is at 9:30 a.m., with the store opening that day at 10 a.m. The public is invited to come join in for the blessing and the opening. The store is in the old Ross location at 74-5586 Palani Road at the Kona Coast Shopping Center and will officially open to the public at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 22. Grand opening festivities are currently slated for Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22.
The total retail square footage of the store is 8,448 square feet. The store will be led by store manager, Jenna Criswell of Kailua-Kona. Criswell said the average mainland store is between 1500 and 2,000 square feet, so this store is four times bigger than average—and the biggest of the five Hawaii stores.
Pier 1 carries a wide assortment of merchandise from inside and outdoor furniture to candles to gifts of all kinds. They have dishware, glasses, baskets, pillows, and seasonal items (right now, there are some July 4 hats, streamers, and decorations). Shoppers may order merchandise from the Pier 1 Imports online site to be delivered to the store at no cost, and may also order from an in-store catalogue. Criswell said shopper may pick up merchandise at the store, or Kona Transportation can deliver items for a fee.
Criswell and Jennifer Engstrom from the headquarters of the Ft. Worth, Texas, retailer said the Kona store is the first in the state to use the “open design” concept. Shelving is open to allow light to pass and to allow shoppers to see the merchandise better, and lighting is more extensive. The front door is bamboo with rustic handles, and the store features rustic beams. The redesign from the Ross Store was done by local developer Phil Tinguely. Tinguely said he got the project by virtue of being the lowest bidder, but that Pier 1 appreciated the high quality plans Tinguely submitted that corresponded with the Pier 1 design. Tinguely said he hired around 50 local contractors, all from Hawaii Island. He said there were other standard Pier 1 contractors involved, and they also tried to hire local people.
In addition to Criswell, there are two other managers and around 40 part-time employees. Pier 1’s headquarters team says once the store gets going, they may convert some of the part-timers into workers with more than 20 hours.
Pier 1 Imports was founded in 1962 in San Mateo, California, as the second major import store. Cost Plus had been founded four years earlier. But today, Cost Plus has around 259 stores, and Pier 1 has more than 1,000 in several countries.
Friday’s events include a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony by Kahu (Reverend) Kealoha Kaopua Coleman of the Calvary Community Church starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Store managers will untie the maile lei and open the doors at 10 am. To celebrate the opening, the first 300 shoppers on June 22 will receive a free signature reusable bag and an iconic Pier 1 Imports backscratcher. Grand opening festivities will continue through the weekend.
Store hours are 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sunday 11 until 7 p.m.