The first Hungry Ear Records store opened its doors at 418 Kuulei Road in Kailua in the summer of 1980. Founded by three friends, Luke Yamashiro, Dennis Chun and Reynold Kong, the store has persevered through good times and bad, through four store locations and six U.S. Presidents, from vinyl to cassette to compact disc and back to vinyl again. Hungry Ear’s residence in Kailua comes to an end on July 19, thirty-five years to the month since first opening.
“We are heartsick to have to move what has always been our flagship store, but ever-rising rents, as well as the changing profile of Kailua, makes it impossible to stay in our current location,” says store owner Ward Yamashita. “We investigated every available storefront on the Windward side, and we came to the conclusion that, amazingly, rent prices in Honolulu have become more reasonable than prices in Kailua.” It became increasingly apparent that the only logical course would be to move the store to Honolulu.
The new Hungry Ear Records will be located on the first floor of University Square, on the corner of King Street and University Avenue, at 2615 South King Street, Suite A-100. A soft opening is planned for the store on August 1, with a Grand Opening to follow soon thereafter.
Hungry Ear is keenly aware of what it is leaving behind. “We all grew up in this store,” muses owner Dennie Chong. “Luke was a surrogate father or older brother to most of us, and was a fount of musical knowledge for all of the community.” Adds Yamashita, “We have so many great memories that were all possible through the store and the Kailua community: I even met my wife Mary at Hungry Ear back in 1985.”
Hungry Ear Records will be hosting a “Moving to Town” sale which begins Monday, July 7, and continues until its closing day, Saturday, July 19. All regularly priced items will be 30% off, including all new and used CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays and records! Hundreds of used vinyl and CDs will be on sale for $1 each! Says Chong, “We invite all our friends from Kailua, Waimanalo and Kaneohe to the sale but, more importantly, we’d love it if they’d just come by so we have the chance to say goodbye and thank you for thirty-five great years.”
The Hawaii Record Fair, which Hungry Ear Records promotes every year, will be held as planned on Sunday, July 27 at the McKinley High School Cafeteria, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Record Fair gathers together the cream of Hawaii’s music vendors and collectors, for the state’s largest selection of vinyl records, compact discs, cassette tapes and music memorabilia.
About Hungry Ear Records:
Hungry Ear Records specializes in Hawaiian and local music, reggae, and classic rock on compact disc and vinyl. We also carry turntables, record needles and plastic sleeves to protect your records, and brushes to clean them.
Hungry Ear Records is always interested in buying used records, compact discs and music memorabilia in excellent condition.
The music industry, including Hungry Ear Records, is seeing a resurgence in vinyl record sales. “There’s a wide range of customers buying albums now: from high school kids just discovering the beauty of the format to the older crowd who bought records in their youth and are still drawn to the sound, graphics and even smells that only come from a vinyl record album,” explains Hungry Ear co-owner, Ward Yamashita. “We are proud to have the largest selection of new vinyl in Hawai`i,” says his business partner, Dennie Chong. “We’re always adding to our used record selection, which ranges in price from $5 to $300.”
Ward and Dennie are available for interviews in person or by telephone, and high-resolution photos are available upon request.