One of my favorite places to haunt while in the islands are the ABC stores of Hawaii.
The stores can be found just about every corner depending on what town you are in.
ABC stores are like 7-11's, Circle K's, Turkey Hill's, and Wa Wa's, as they carry various snacks, sodas, water and juices.
They also carry sundry items such as sunscreen, film, sand mats, and first aid supplies.
But what I really like about the ABC stores is the wide assortment of gifts and souvenirs at very low prices.
What to buy: Pareaus (Pareos). These can be long or short pieces of fabric which can be worn as a skirt, a dress, or as a swimsuit cover up. They come in various colors and patterns. At the ABC stores you can sometimes find them for as low as five dollars apiece.
Coconut syrup. I bring back at least four bottles for pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
Coffee. ABC stores carry bags and bags of Hawaiian coffee. One of our personal favorites is "Lion Brand" the cup that roars.
Purple Gum. Choward's Scented Gum. This is an acquired taste. You either love it or you hate it. It is violet scented gum.
Aloe Vera Gel. This is great for sunburns and wind chapped skin.
What to pay: Prices for Pareaus start at $5.00, Coffee can run as low as $3.00 per bag. Check each store as they run their own specials.
I love to go to Hilo Hattie's to look around.
Somethings are a little gaudy to say the least but it is fun. You can buy gifts to take back home, boxes of mac nuts, a Hawaiian shirt, and many other things here.
They have sales and coupons the flyers..
If you're headed for Vocanoes National Park, you can't miss the sign for the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory and Shop. This complex south of Hilo is strictly touristy, but there is a short, informative film about the history of the nut industry on the island and some little known facts about the tasty little nut. Best of all you can taste samples of the many different flavors for free! The tour and film are also free.
What to buy: This shop not only sells every seasoned flavor of macadamia nuts (chocolate covered, BBQ, etc.) and other derivative goodies, and souvenirs, but you can also stop for a soft drink, sandwich or ice cream in the fountain area attached to the shop. You won't come out of here empty handed.
The shop is open 7 days a week from 8:30 - 5:30.
What to pay: Packages of macadamia nuts can be found in all sizes and quantities from under $10 and up. You can also order online.
The main gift shop in the Volcano House Hotel has one of the most spectacular views you'll see at a store (as good as that of the shop at the Grand Canyon Rim). There are two shops in the Volcano House Hotel. But the most inclusive shop is the one in the rear which over looks the Kilauea Caldera!
What to buy: If you're in the mood, pick up a bottle of Volcano Red (Pele's Delight) Wine. At about $20-25 per bottle, it's probably an expensive souvenir. All kinds of other volcano-related souvenirs are available. My favorites were a book on Hawaii Volcanoes (about $15), deck of cards (about $2.50) and the matches from the hotel.
What to pay: Anything you want!
Our favorite place to shop is Long's Drug store. They have everything at very reasonable prices. It is also a good place to have your film developed. They do a great job and you have them back in 24 hrs. or less.
One of the benefits of renting a condo is that you can cook your own food and save on the cost of eating out. We had a few meals at restaurants but we sure like hanging out on the lanai. So I did my own survey of grocery prices and found KTA in the Keauhou Shopping Center the cheapest.
Not very scientific (and a strange way to spend vacation time) but compared the price of milk, beer (Kona of course), mangoes, bread, and steak (T-Bone of course). KTA was cheaper than Safeway on all items. WalMart had some cheap dry goods but they just don't carry the rest.
I couldn't bring myself to spend time at K-Mart - sorry.
Kailua-Kona and Hilo are the primary shopping districts, but other quaint small towns offer a treasure trove of rare gifts. They are alive with small antique shops, museums, bookstores, art galleries, cafes and bakeries, each offering their own unique shopping flavor and sense of Old Hawaii.
For example, the South Kona towns of Holualoa, Kainaliu, Kealakekua, Captain Cook, and Honaunau reflect the flavor of Coffee Country. The harbor town of Kawaihae has a shopping center. Waimea is steeped in upcountry Paniolo history. The northern towns of Hawi, Kapaau, and Honoka'a take you back to the island's history of sugar cane plantations. Volcano Village is known as an artist's colony, inspired by Madam Pele's volcanic activity at Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
Just outside Kailua-Kona is a shopping center with a grand view of tranquil Keauhou Bay. The Keauhou Shopping Center is home to 35 shops and restaurants, most of them unique to the Big Island. Its merchants offer a variety of one-of-a-kind items, some only available at the center itself.
In newer Waikoloa, Golf Country, the Kings Shops offers upscale shopping, including art galleries, boutiques, and designer stores. The large Kohala Coast resorts all boast wonderful high-end shops and galleries, with easy access and free parking.
The Hele On Bus offers long distance transportation between Kona and Hilo. Hilo Hattie, one the state's most well-known Hawaiian-style stores, offers daily a free shopping shuttle from all hotels and condominiums in the Waikaloa, Kohala, Kona and Hilo areas. In Kailua-Kona, Island RV offers shuttle service to most Kailua shopping centers. The Alii Shuttle runs between the Lanihau and the Keauhou Shopping Centers. The Kona Coast Shuttle operates between the Kohala Coast Resorts and Kona Inn Shopping Village.
What to buy: LOCAL TEXTILES and QUILTS, Kona coffee and macadamia nuts; WOWEN lauhala and coconut Leaves with hats, bowls and mats; orchids, anthuriums, and other exotic blooms
Discount fabric warehouse (taken from www.gotfabric.com)
E Komo Mai!
We have multiple locations in Hawaii and California. GotFabric.com is the online division of Discount Fabric Warehouse, a wholesale and retail operation. Our motto is "Discount Prices Everyday for Everyone."
We have a large selection of these fabrics and items:
Hawaiian & Tropical
Our hard to find Notions:
Coconut, Wooden & Bamboo Buttons
Hawaiian, Oriental and Quilting Patterns
Our Specialty Fabrics include:
Jacquards & Brocades
Spandex & Slinky
Checkout our Outlet Store for:
$1 & Less items
What to buy: all sorts of fabrics
ABC stores carry a little of everything from snacks and film to souveniers and hawaiian shirts. The ABC stores are found in practically every corner....or at least is seems that way. Alot of inexpensive items can be found here. Some things sold there are kind of cheap looking, but you will also find some things that are sold for much more at other stores in the area. I suggest stopping at an ABC store first, just to see what they have.
What to buy: Souveniers
....(try ABC stores first)......
Other souveniers and specialty items, (Coffee, chocolates, etc)...can be found at local malls or nearby stores in the area BUT expect to pay more at some stores.
ABC Stores are located all over Oahu, Maui and Kona. You can't walk down a block without hitting a store or several stores. The stores range from small shops to large department sized stores. Everything you could want to buy are in these stores: food items, alcohol, souvenirs, clothing, makeup, toiletries, sun block, beach towels, candy, picture frames, beach coolers, hats and more. The prices here are very affordable so it is the perfect place to pick up some cheap souvenirs for the people back home.
During our trips we always find ourselves here picking up some souvenirs and gifts for the people back home. Our last trip to Hawaii brought us to various stores in Waikiki, Kona and Lahaina. It is important to save your receipts. ABC has a rewards program that entitles you to free gifts depending on the total amount of your receipts. Our last trip we saved all of our receipts from Oahu, Kona and Maui and were given a tote bag, insulated cooler bag and a large bag on wheels for free.
**ABC is definitely a bargain store. No items will "break the bank" or budget. It's also a great place to buy the souvenirs for the people back home without spending a fortune.**
My Dad's only request of me for a souvenir was to get him a Tee Shirt from the Harley Davidson Shop in Kona. The shop is about a fifteen minute walk from the pier up a large hill.
The gift shop is a small area off the side of the dealership with tee, jackets and other Harley Davidson themed items. There were several tees to choose from and we found him a good one for $25. He was quite happy when we came home with it.
Crazy Shirt is a store I have seen in many location on the Main Land of the U.S. Here in Hawaii they have several locations across the islands. They carry some nice tee shirts for men women and children along with pants, swim wear, skirts, hats and some plush toys for kids. Prices are reasonable and the quality of the merchandise is good.
We stopped into the store primarily to look for a swim shirt for me. They had a few but I wasn't thrilled with the color options; fortunately I found what I wanted on their website when I got home. The sales woman was very helpful; a former New Yorker who once worked for Pan Am(it is a small world).
Hilo Hattie is well known for having everything and anything Hawaiian.....(clothing, food, candies, coffees, toys, jewelry, etc.)......Great store to go to to find it all.......BUT these stores are also found in local areas back home (Well in my home town of California)......so if you don't have a Hilo Hattie store back home...then do go to one in Hawaii.....You will find so much there! Some items are a little expensive, but sometimes you do find some deals. AND.....there are usually coupons you can find that give you free items when you spend a certain amount..or give you a few dollars off.
Even if you do not want to shop for plants it is worth a stop.
These Gardens are more or less a warehouse filled with orchids of all species. Everything is ready for shipping or for sale. You can buy seeds and cuttings for coffee plants, papayas, guavas, hibiscus and plumerias.
They have a huge gift store too.
Open Daily 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. HST
Entrance is for free.
What to buy: I bought two orchids and they are doing fine here at home.
What to pay: They have small orchids for 4$ and they had as well one for over 20 000$ that won some awards.
Okay for all you condo stayers your in luck...there is a Costco about 3-5 miles north of Kona. I just like any other Costco on the mainland. It's got all the food you need, bathing suits, just in case, clothes and electronics. If you want to pick up a vollyball for fun they have that too.
What to pay: The cost of items in the Hawaii Costco are more than on the mainland, but still cheaper then some of the other stores.
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