Wailuku Mom & Pop Store Closes
By Wendy Osher
The famed Kaohu Red Hot Dog makes a quiet exit from Wailuku town today.
The Wailuku Market, which occupies the space that still carries the old Kaohu Store name closes its doors at the end of business today.
Owners said rent, electricity, and competitive wages combined, made it difficult to keep the business open.
“We didn’t want to raise the price for customers,” said owner Mi-yon Anzai as she helped a longtime patron from behind the counter.
Anzai began renting the building about a year and a half ago, filling the space formerly occupied by the long-time Kaohu Store. While the Kaohu Store was gone, its signage and the popular red hot dogs they served, with a steamed bun, mayonnaise, mustard and relish, remained.
Fellow workers described the store as “an easy place to grab and go,” saying it had become a convenient lunch stop for county workers up the hill, and decades-old after school tradition for ‘Iao Elementary School students across the street.
Today, a steady stream of county employees and Wailuku residents made their way through the doors, many of whom were surprised to learn about the closure.
A small sign taped to the checkout counter thanked customers for their support and advised of the September 21 closing date.
It is unclear if the owner of the building will seek a new tenant or if there are other plans for the space.
To compensate for the long hours and rising expense, one customer suggested that they open a lunch wagon so that residents could still get their Kaohu Hot Dog fix.
For now, it appears that the Kaohu red hot dog has gone to that big doggie heaven in the sky.