(Via Star Advertiser)
Some vendors at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace are complaining that a recent reconfiguration of customer foot-traffic flow is costing them business revenue.
The change, which took effect June 3, aims to improve pedestrian safety and improve rest station atmosphere by leading visitors to restrooms and food concessions, stadium deputy manager Lois Manin said.
The reconfiguration was prompted by closure of the stadium’s north tunnel between Row 7 and Row 8 due to delivery and maintenance vehicular traffic, Manin said. Foot traffic now winds for about 100 yards in a path skirting the tunnel’s entrance, with the rest station situated at its midway point.
Kathleen Abfalter, who runs Creative Photo Frames, said the reconfiguration touched off a drop in foot traffic at her swap meet stall and a slide in sales of between 33 percent and 50 percent.
“It’s really affected my business tremendously,” said Abfalter, who has been a vendor at the swap meet for 12 years.
Abfalter said she has spoken with about 15 other vendors, some of who have worked at the swap meet for three decades, who maintain they also have seen a drop in business as a result of the reconfiguration.
Between 500 to 600 vendors, crafts people and artists sell their products at the swap meet — the largest in the state. The swap meet operates from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Daily vendors pay $100 a day, and those operating on a monthly basis pay $70 a day. Vendors’ fees represent about 53 percent of total annual revenues for the stadium.
In addition to providing an opportunity for visitors to buy gifts, the swap meet serves as an incubator for entrepreneurs as well as a source of income for some retirees.
Lani Tamaneng, who operates Hawaiian Doll Clothes, said the reconfiguration has cut her business by one-third.
“They don’t have to block our access to get business,” Tamaneng said. “It isn’t right.”
Tour and activities salesman Travis Keller said his business, which he has been operating for five years, is down by half.
“I don’t like it,” said Keller. “It’s not good.”
Manin said stadium officials continue to discuss the matter with vendors to see how they can accommodate them.
“Our focus is not to hurt any of them,” she said.
The reconfiguration’s safety goal is to protect pedestrians, Manin said. Noting that swap meet’s operation often overlaps with events held inside the stadium, she said vehicles moving in and out of the north tunnel could create dangerous situations for customers.