Extraordinary Stories

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The "All Blocks Covered" Story

Honolulu ABC Store.
It was an ordinary day.  Swimming in the waters of the Pacific at the Kaanapali Beach Resort in Maui, Hawaii.  Water is crystal clear and the fish seem to be my constant friends as I paddle around in the surf.  Visiting the island with friends Jerry and Just Sue.  Jerry looked at me and said, "Did you ever try to snorkel before?"  "Never!" I said.  "Let's go back to the ABC Store and get a couple of snorkels and well snorkel together," was his reply.  Well, that was back in 1999 on our first trip to Hawaii and it opened an entire new dimension to vacation for Carol and me.  Ever since that trip the snorkel gear is part of our luggage when we travel to any place that has clear warm water.  But, my story isn't only about travel and snorkeling today.  It has to do with the store where I purchased my first snorkel.  Store known by the three letters of ABC.  
ABC Store in Kauai.
At the time I had no idea what the letters stood for, but it didn't take me long.  The ABC stores are a chain of convenience stores that are based in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The majority of the stores in Hawaii, but there are several locations in Guam, Saipan and Las Vegas where you can purchase just about anything needed for your vacation.  The company was started by Sidney Kosasa who opened his first store in Waikiki in 1964 under the name of "Mister K."  He later changed the name to make it easier to remember, thus the "ABC Store."  Mr. K, as he was known, was born in Palolo Valley, Hawaii and his first taste of retail began when he worked at his parent's grocery store in Palolo.  In 1949 he opened a pharmacy/conveniene store in Kaimuki, Hawaii known as  Thrifty Drugs.  The store was popular and lead to more stores with the same name.  While attending a business convention in Miami Beach, FL he noticed all the tourists that were visiting Miami Beach and realized he could open a chain of stores in Hawaii geared toward the tourists.  

ABC Store in Maui.
Didn't take long before his first store on Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki opened.  His son now runs the stores, taking over for his father.  There are close to 40 stores now in Waikiki within a one-mile radius of each other.  The intersection of Kalakaua and Seaside Avenue has four of those stores.  There are also stores in Oahu, Maui, the island known as Hawaii and Kauai as well as the stores in Las Vegas, Guam and Saipan.  During our trip this year we shopped in ABC Stores on Honolulu as well as in Kauai and Maui.  Great place to buy snacks for the beach and hotel room as well as souvenirs for the family.  Oh yeah, my friend Jerry told me that the ABC stands for All Blocks Covered.  Whether that is true or not doesn't really matter, but it does seem to be the basis for the stores.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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