Pacific Business News -- With 100 percent occupancy, Kapolei Commons is bucking a trend that has become a reality for many in the retail industry.
The West Oahu shopping center has managed to keep its space full in an environment where major big-box retailers are filing for bankruptcy and announcing store closures, leaving many shopping centers to find alternative tenants to fill the vacancies.
But Katie Ka‘anapu, a spokesperson for The MacNaughton Group, which owns Kapolei Commons, said the shopping center has already managed to diversify its offerings, something West Oahu residents want.
“Kapolei Commons is a pretty good mix of national chain stores as well as more unique boutiques and eateries. It’s what our customers are looking for,” Ka‘anapu told Pacific Business News.
The shopping center is getting ready to welcome two major retailers that are new to the Hawaii market: discount home fashion chain HomeGoods and cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty.
HomeGoods, which is owned by TJX Companies Inc., signed a 10-year lease for a 25,000-square-foot space at the center, and Ulta Beauty plans to open its fourth Hawaii store next month in a 10,000-square-foot space currently under construction.
Ulta Beauty entered the Hawaii market in July when it opened its first store on Maui at the Puunene Shopping Center in Kahului.
The national chain has since opened two other Oahu locations at the Sam’s Club-anchored Pearl Highlands Center, and at Alexander & Baldwin’s Kailua Town Center.
In addition to adding large national brands, Kapolei Commons is also making room for smaller retailers with a new building currently under construction.
Ka‘anapu said the building, close to Ulta Beauty, will have around five to six 1,000-square-foot spaces.
“We are currently in active lease negotiations for those spaces,” she said. “We’re looking for some more unique offerings, food options and more lifestyle type of tenants.”
Ka‘anapu said the center is also making efforts to tap into some of the West Side’s tourist market — visitors staying in Ko Olina, a mere five minutes away.
“We’ve always had the desire to attract the tourists,” she said. “We’ve found that a lot of the Asian visitors like Target and enjoy Down to Earth a lot. That’s always been a big draw. And Mainland visitors do like some of the national chains they know are reliable, like Dunkin’ Donuts.”
Ka‘anapu said the center is currently working with hotel concierges on the West Side to help raise awareness among the visitor market. The center is also looking to host more events on its property in an effort to attract visitors and locals.
“We do a lot of focus groups where we invite customers and non-customers to tell us what they are looking for, not just in a shopping center, but in a neighborhood,” she said. “One of the biggest comments that we hear is that customers want more locally owned businesses when it comes to the food and beverage operators, rather than the fashion or gift-type operators.”
Ka‘anapu said according to the feedback they receive, customers also like having a traditional Mainland suburban feel.
“They want somewhere where they can go with the entire family. They can run errands and also have fun while on the property through activities like a movie and dinner,” she said. “They want that one-stop shop.”