A new convenience store chain from Japan is coming to Hawaii. It's called Lawson Station and it could generate close to 600 new jobs in the state once expansion is complete, according to senior company officials.
It all depends on its two new stores opening in the islands.
New employees put the final touches and stocking shelves Thursday, just two days before the store's grand opening.
"It looks beautiful. Think it's going to be the number one store in Hawaii," said employee Misako Peralta.
The company already hired 50 new employees at its two locations: one inside the Sheraton Waikiki; the other at the Moana Surfrider.
The company is hoping to open 20 to 30 more stores in the state within three years, translating to more jobs.
"I was an administrative assistant for three years until now," said new employee Chantel Kurozawa. "But, because it was only part-time and I needed a full-time job, I was able to get a job here at Lawson."
"As we expand, we will hire more and hope that the people who were hired here can become store managers for our next stores so that it will be a more exciting job for those who work here," said Tetsu Yamada, senior vice-president of Lawson International.
With more than 10,000 stores in Japan and more than 400 in China and Indonesia, Lawson Station is growing with the potential to expand to the mainland if these two stores in Hawaii perform to expectations.
With a variety of Japanese fast foods, beverages, souvenirs, and everything else you can find in a convenience store here, Lawson Station will be competing with established chains like ABC Stores and 7-Eleven.