Hundreds of people squeezed through the front entrance of the new Longs Drugs Store at the Kehalani Village Center on Monday morning.
Within half an hour of opening shortly after 8:30 a.m., the store's parking lot was full, and motorists were parking on the shoulder of Kuikahi Drive.
"Oh my God, it's a lot of work," said Lynn Craft, the store's assistant manager. "We're so happy that we're open."
Gerry Caliva, the manager of the new Longs Drugs Store at the Kehalani Village Center and Assistant Manager Lynn Craft untie a haku lei during a blessing and grand opening of the store Monday morning.
The Maui News / BRIAN PERRY photo
Store Manager Gerry Caliva, a 1981 Maui High School graduate, credited his employees for their work in getting the store open.
"My staff did a great job," he said. "We're here to serve the community."
Many customers were busy grabbing sale items, such as 20-pound bags of Hinode Calrose rice.
Wailuku resident Christy Kailiehu brought her 6-year-old daughter, Shaylee Kailiehu-Eaton, to the store's grand opening. She bought a bag of rice among other items.
"It's close. I don't have to go all the way to town," she said, referring the the Kahului Longs Drugs location.
Wailuku resident Hal Davis said he also appreciated the new store's convenient location for nearby residents. "It's great," he said.
During a blessing ceremony, Longs Drugs District 1 Manager Nolan Karioka said that the new store is Longs' 51st store in Hawaii and the first tenant in the Kehalani Village Center.
Kahu Leiohu Ryder blessed the new store, sprinkling outside and inside the store with water from a ti leaf. She prayed and said she appreciated store employees as being part of her extended family.
Construction of the $50 million, 200,000-square-foot shopping center began in late October 2011.