WAILUKU - The new Foodland Gas Station at Kehalani was blessed Friday, kicking off Foodland's business venture in one of Maui's fastest-growing communities.
The gas station developed by Aloha Petroleum Ltd. and Foodland Super Market Ltd. is on the corner of Maui Lani Parkway and Kehalani Village Drive across from Longs in the Kehalani Village Center in Wailuku. It is the first Foodland gas station on Maui and the fourth joint venture by the two companies in the state.
"We're so pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Aloha Petroleum with the opening of our first Foodland Gas Station on Maui. And we're excited to follow this venture with the opening of our new Foodland Kehalani store in the spring," said Jenai S. Wall, Foodland chairwoman and chief executive officer in a prepared statement.
Kahu Kealahou Alika conducts a blessing for the new Foodland Gas Station at Kehalani on Friday morning with Maui District Manager Robert Murphy (from right), lead gas attendant Generose Cacayorin and Kahului Foodland Store Director Vaughn Hamai. The station is a joint venture between Foodland Super Market Ltd. and Aloha Petroleum Ltd. The station actually began serving customers Jan. 11, but traffic has been light so far, possibly because the business is hidden from view of passing motorists by construction dust-control structures.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Construction continues on the new Foodland Kehalani store Friday morning in Wailuku. Expected to open in May, the 35,000-square-foot store will be one of the chain’s largest in the state, second in size on Maui only to Foodland Pukalani.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
As the blessing went on Friday morning, the noise of the nearby construction of the new Foodland could be heard. Officials expect the store and its The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to be open in May.
When open, the Foodland will be one of the largest across the state at 35,000 square feet, said Sheryl Toda, a spokeswoman for Foodland. Foodland Pukalani, which includes a pharmacy in the store, is a little larger.
The Kehalani store will include an in-store American Savings Bank, which will be American Savings' largest in-store bank in the state, Toda added.
Foodland Kehalani will have full-service seafood, meat, deli, bakery, produce and floral departments along with an R. Field Wine Co.
The store will employ around 85 workers and will be going through the hiring process soon, Toda said. Workers from other stores may request transfers, so there may be openings at other stores.
The Foodland Gas Station opened Jan. 11, but traffic has been light, store officials said.
"I think it's going to be a slow start," said Foodland District Manager Robert Murphy before the blessing. He noted that the station is hard to see with construction screens for the new Foodland blocking views of it.
But when the Foodland store is complete, business "will definitely pick up," he said.
"We love this area," Murphy said as he faced the homes on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains. "There is a lot of growth up here."
Murphy said he knows there are customers from Kehalani and its surrounding neighborhoods that shop at the Foodland near Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. But, he said, those customers will likely shop at the new store.
Murphy said that he expects The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and its drive-through to be a hit because a similar store in Pearl City on Oahu is constantly busy.
The Hawaii chain of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is owned by the Sullivan family, the parent company of Foodland, Sack N Save and Foodland Farms, as well as others.
The Foodland Gas Station sells three grades of gasoline (regular, plus and super) and diesel fuel. It is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Now through March 31, Maika'i members will receive a 10-cent per gallon discount when paying with cash.
Maika'i rewards cannot be earned by purchasing gasoline, store officials said. But Aloha Petroleum promotions do apply there, Aloha Petroleum officials said.
The new station is the second Aloha-branded location on Maui. The other is in Kahului fronting Home Depot. A third location in Lahaina will be coming soon, an announcement said.
The opening of the Foodland Gas Station is just one of several commercial projects in Wailuku to be completed in recent years.
Safeway opened a store across from Baldwin High School in September. The Longs Drugs Store at Kehalani opened in October 2012.
A Walgreens store on the corner of Waiale Road and Maui Lani Parkway is expected to open early this year, store officials have said.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at email@example.com.