2018 is shaping up to be a big year for locally owned Down to Earth. Editor in chief A. Kam Napier, has more on the organic grocer’s expansion.
If you’re a townie, you’re probably most familiar with Down to Earth’s oldest location on King Street, near Puck’s Alley. The organic grocery store celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and for much of the time, kept to a certain size and scale. This year, that changes.
Down to Earth is prepping new three stores at the same time. One is the 13,000-square-foot location that anchors the Keahou Lane apartment building, Down to Earth’s first foray into Kakaako. There’s also a 15,000-square-foot location underway in Kailua that replaces an older, smaller location. And there’s a 12,500-square-space underway in Aiea that also replaces an older location in that neighborhood.
Down to Earth is spending about $6 million on each store. Its CEO, Mark Fergusson, says the Aiea location coming up near the Toys R Us building is particularly special to the brand as it’s the first time it has built its own building from the ground up. All its other locations fit into existing spaces within other buildings.
The expansion is deliberate, but the all-at-once aspect was not. That’s a result of the real estate market and the opportunities all happening to come together at the same time. Down to Earth had been eyeing Kakaako for decades, for example, but only now did it feel that the condo boom put enough full-time residents into the area to yield both customers, and suitable spaces in which to build.