The saga of Maui’s only Barnes & Noble–the only purveyor of new books left on the island–and its hunt for a new, permanent home continues with the company’s announcement this afternoon that the company will move its operation from Lahaina to Kahului in March.
Here’s a statement from Jim Lampassi, Barnes & Noble’s Vice President of Real Estate Development, on the move:
Barnes & Noble is pleased to announce that we will be continuing to operate on Maui at a new temporary location in Kahului. Our real estate team has been tirelessly working to find a new home on the island since the lease at our former location expired, and we would like to thank our broker, Roger Lyons of CBRE in Honolulu, for helping us to identify an appropriate short-term lease until we find a more permanent location. We would also like to thank Petco, the previous occupant of the space who we are licensing it from. The outpouring of support from the community was heartwarming and we can’t wait to continue to serve our loyal customers in the area. The scheduled opening date for the new store is March 12, pending permits, in Maui Marketplace, and it will feature a similar assortment of books and products.
It’s hard to imagine the bookstore would stay in the Maui Marketplace permanently. It’s largely empty now–Sports Authority long ago closed, and Petco and Lowe’s moved next door to Target.
No one from Barnes & Noble’s store in Lahaina would comment on the record on this afternoon’s corporate announcement. But one employee, who asked not to be named, did agree to comment. “I am excited about a change in location, and very excited to be moving to Kahului side, but I wish we were moving next to Target,” the employee said. “Maui Marketplace is a great center, but the Petco location I feel is not the best for Barnes & Noble. It’s kinda small and far back in the center.”
Store officials announced in October that an inability to negotiate a new lease at Lahaina Gateway Center (where they’ve been for the last decade) meant that the bookstore–which has hosted innumerable community events through the years–would close for good at the end of 2017. But following this story that we published on Oct. 21, 2017, a huge outpouring of community support led to a reversal from Barnes & Noble corporate officials. Though they were vague about the store’s immediate future, they said they would in fact keep it open.
Photo: Sean M. Hower