A long-standing convenience store recently closed its doors for good in Laupahoehoe.
M. Sakado Store has been a permanent fixture off Highway 19 in the small, quiet town since 1941. And now, after 79 years of serving the community, owners Derrick and Linda Sakado have decided to close the popular store. June 30 was the final day it was open.
“It’s a good and bad change,” Derrick Sakado said. “I know we’re ready to retire, but it’s going to be hard to not see these people everyday.”
As the only employees of the store, the Sakados have been working every day since they took over ownership from Derrick’s parents.
Arlene Hussein visited the store on Friday to say hello to her friends, Derrick and Linda.
“I wanted to make sure I saw them before they close officially,” Hussein said. “I’ve been coming here forever and will miss it.”
Hussein shared an anecdote about her grandchildren’s first visit to the store a few years ago.
The family visited M. Sakado for a few snacks, but Hussein forgot to bring cash to pay for the groceries.
The Sakados told Hussein she could take the snacks she and her grandchildren chose and come back the next day with the money needed to purchase the items.
“This just shocked my grandkids, they were so surprised that the Sakados were trusting enough to let us do that,” Hussein said. “The next day they brought the money to them and were very thankful.”
The Sakados had originally planned to stay open until the end of 2020, but decided to close at the end of June for health concerns.
“The virus was not a factor in us closing at all,” Derrick said. “We knew we were ready to retire soon and the timing was just right for us.”
Derrick and Linda are excited to spend more time with their family in their retirement and plan visit their children and grandchildren.
Although they won’t be traveling any time soon, they will be spending quality time together at their home in Hilo.
“We haven’t had time to spend with each other in so long,” Derrick said. “One of us is usually working at the store or running errands, so we’re ready for our time together.”
The Sakados are considering renovating the store and converting it to a house that could be rented out, but have not made any decisions yet.
“It’s going to be hard saying goodbye to the community,” Derrick said. “This is a beautiful part of the world and we have really loved being here.”
Email Kelsey Walling at firstname.lastname@example.org