Malama Market Returns to Pahoa
Pahoa’s lone supermarket has made its return to the Pahoa MarketPlace. Malama Market reopened its doors Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., and in no time, the parking lot was full and the store lines were long.
As part of Malama Market’s grand reopening, the store is featuring product giveaways, samples, and the chance to win $100 in gas and groceries.
Malama Market closed on Dec. 18, 2014 due to the threat of the then-quickly approaching June 27 lava flow, and has now reopened exactly three months to the day it closed.
The nearly 10,000 square foot Malama Market store looked rejuvenated as aisles were fully stocked and the bakery and deli in full swing. A full staff helped to even the load of customers happy to have their supermarket back.
Just days before the market’s December closure. lava was just over a mile away and advancing at a rate of about 300 yards a day. Company officials decided on Dec. 15 that it was best that they close their doors, and made the announcement that it would close to the public three days later.
Malama Market announced in mid-February that they would reopen its store on March 18.
Jenai S. Wall, Chairman and CEO of the Sullivan Family of Companies, said in a February statement, “we are so grateful to be able to reopen Malama Market Pahoa and serve the community again.”
Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said earlier in the week, “for all of the vendors, we appreciate the really tough decision they had to make with when to pack up and move when the threat appeared to be imminent, and realizing that it’s so unpredictable,”
Nearly all the businesses in the marketplace community were forced out by fear of the lava threat. These business include Malama Market’s gas station, Malama Gas N Go, Subway, Ace Hardware, Lex Brodie’s Tire Co., and a variety of additional business that line the complex. A majority of those businesses have already made their return, including the gas station.
Oliveira told reporters Tuesday that the gas station made its return just a few days prior, but avoided a public announcement and advertising so that its employees could get back into the swing of things.
“The decision to come back by all of them [Pahoa MarketPlace businesses] was a calculated one. They saw the risk, and I think they’re all very comfortable understanding that the eruption has not stopped… I think they weighed the risk and benefits, that includes not only their ability to do business and make money, but more importantly, serve the community,” Oliveira said.
June 27 lava flow activity has remained relatively inactive in the downslope portion of the flow. As of Wednesday, the majority of the activity was focused in the upslope area, about 8 miles above the stalled flow front and near Puʻu ʻŌʻō.