ABC Stores is a chain of convenience stores based in Honolulu. Of their 78 stores, 56 are located in the state of Hawaii, with the remaining locations in the Marianas and Las Vegas. The company now generates more than $150 million in annual profits and employs over 900 staff.
The stores sell convenience items such as groceries, as well as tourist items and souvenirs. The chain's best-selling items are tourist-oriented products such as Macadamia nuts, sunscreen and sunglasses.
The chain was started by Sidney Kosasa, who opened his first store in Waikiki in 1964. The stores were originally named "Mister K." Later, in order to make the store name easier to remember, the name of the stores were changed to "ABC Stores." The last Mister K was changed to ABC in 2009
The son of a first generation Japanese immigrant, Sidney Kosasa (or rather ‘Mr. K’- known by his ABC Stores ‘Ohana’ or family) was born in Palolo Valley, Hawaii in December 1919. His first experiences in retail began while working in his parents’ grocery store in Palolo.
In 1949, Mr. and Mrs. K. opened their first pharmacy/convenience store in Kaimuki, Hawaii – known later as Thrifty Drugs. As business grew, his entrepreneurial and business philosophies resulted in the opening of four locations within 10 years. While attending a business convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Mr. K noticed all the tourists near the large hotels and had a vision to build a chain of resort stores in Hawaii. The first ABC Store was opened on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, Hawaii in 1964.
Mr. K’s son Paul Kosasa is current Chief Executive Officer.
The stores are now ubiquitous in the tourist-oriented Waikiki neighborhood. There are 37 store locations within a one-mile radius of Waikiki alone and consequently many of these sit in close proximity to one another. The intersection of Kalakaua and Seaside Avenue alone has four ABC Stores. Many retail analysts believe this is an attempt to block other convenience stores from entering the Waikiki market and thus prevent competition.
Outside of Honolulu, there are 27 other ABC stores in Hawaii; in total, there are 39 on O'ahu, twelve on Maui, three on Kauai, and five on the "Big Island" of Hawaii.
There are eight stores in Las Vegas, currently the franchise's only mainland location.
There are also ten stores in the Mariana Islands. Eight locations are in Tamuning, Guam, and Saipan's two locations are in Garapan. Like Waikiki on O'ahu, both Garapan and Tamuning are their islands' main tourist centers.