QUEENS’ MARKETPLACE | CELEBRATING 10 YEARS 11 QUEENS’ MAKES PERFECT ENVIRONMENT FOR WIDE ARRAY OF GUESTS, BUSINESSES, VENDORS Fest brings the history of the island to life in the form of music and crafts and an array of other activities. And thousands gather every year to celebrate Independence Day and take in the thrilling fireworks display. It all adds up to a place that businesses operating there are thrilled to call home. “It’s an oasis in the middle of the lava fields,” said Becky Erickson, co-owner of Blue Ginger. “It’s a really good combination of stores and a great shopping experience.” Of all the diversity among the customer base at Queens’ MarketPlace, a few common threads do exist. Proprietors there like Judi Jennet, owner of Ocean Sports — which offers a multitude of sea excursions out of Anaehoomalu Bay — recognize the benefit of tapping into those commonalities. “It’s got more action than almost any other (shopping area) on the Kohala Coast,” Jennet said. “The clientele who come there are our kind of clientele.” One of Hawaii Island’s most well-known business entities, ABC Stores, recognized the potential of Queens’ MarketPlace from the start. The company utilized the opportunity the shopping center presented to launch Island Gourmet Markets. The choice to set up shop at the burgeoning commercial center was part of what Neil Ishida, director of public relations for ABC Stores, said is an ongoing effort to remain relevant. The company has not been disappointed. “For us back then, it was a huge expansion for our ABC concept,” Ishida explained. “This surely was a big opportunity to do many new things in a growing area, and it turned out to be right.” Head is thrilled with what the multi-functional site has become since it was developed a decade ago, saying it’s stayed true to the original vision. Already more than the sum of its parts, Queens’ MarketPlace truly embodies its moniker — “The gathering place of the Kohala Coast.” And its future is bright.
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