Vendors: Swap meet shoppers dwindling

By Kenny Choi
Published On: Dec 23 2013 05:23:00 PM HST

Despite vendors' reports of dwindling Christmas sales, last minute shoppers found everything from ukuleles, to watches and little trinkets for children at the Aloha Stadium swap meet.

HONOLULU -

Last minute Christmas shoppers visited the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet on Monday to buy gifts.

But vendors say the number of shoppers has dwindled over the years.

Click here to watch Kenny Choi's report.

The swap meet, which has been a tourist magnet for decades, is not attracting as many shoppers as it once did according to several vendors.

Sales overall for Amy Chen and her husband's store haven't been exactly booming with Christmas only two days away.

“Ten years ago, there were a lot of people. But this year, it’s kind of quiet," said Chen.

“This Christmas, it’s very slow,” said Can Nguyen, who sells ukuleles at the swap meet.

Nguyen has been a vendor for more than 15 years.

He estimates the number of shoppers has dwindled sharply over the last decade by as much as 80 percent.

But visitors, both tourists and locals think otherwise.

“I got a quite a few things and got a bargain. Prices are good here and I shop around,” said Alice McGuire, who’s visiting from Seattle.

"Every time I come it's packed with lots of tourists. As a local person, we always go to the right place where the good vendors are at,” said Elisapeta Alaimaleata.

Vendors pay anywhere between $15 to $125 per day based on location and length of commitment.

Stadium officials say last year, the swap meet generated $4.5 million for the state.

But vendors want organizers, including Centerplate Company, which has the contract to operate the meet to do more.

"Television ads, magazine ads, and have commercials on the airplanes. Maybe when tourists land (in Hawaii), they'll know we have Aloha Stadium here," said Chen. 

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