The first day at the brand new Kith flagship location in Hawaii started not on the publicized opening day of Friday, August 20 (which is also Hawaii Admission Day) but rather on Thursday evening. All week, the excitement intensified after the formal accouncement was made that Hawaii would be the fourth US state to have a flagship store alongside New York, Florida, and California. So when rumors started circulating that the store would make an announcement at 9:30pm, it was time to head to Waikiki!
So while details about the grand opening were sparse, it was assumed that the Royal Hawaiian Center would not allow overnight camping. From other Kith store openings, it was known that they did a ticket/wristband system indicating customer entrance times. Other than those basic details, no one knew what to expect. And I suspect that Kith themselves didn’t know what to expect from the Hawaii population.
I also learned that even though there was a now-confirmed announcement at 9:30pm, no lines could form until then.
So instead of forming a line, people basically congregated around the store. No, they were not waiting for a lineup. Everyone was supposedly shopping and enjoying Waikiki – in front of the mall, on the inside of the mall, at the food court, across the street, and even in the Beachcomber hotel. That rumor must have traveled fast with so many people already there before 8pm.
The scene was chaotic, confusing, and exciting all at the same time. Security and information was light so there were definitely concerns. Supposedly the tickets given out would yield a random time wristband so it didn’t matter where in line you were. But to control the masses forming, security started a lineup around 9pm. There was a mad scramble to form a line as it started to extend down Kalakaua then snaked back. So if you weren’t already in Waikiki at 9pm when the line formed you were out of luck or faced a long wait ahead.
And yes, COVID is still a concern, but there was simply no way of social distancing this amount of people without the line extending to Ala Moana or beyond.
This first line was to get your number and time to come back later in the night for a wristband. Yes, there would be a second line up later in the night. I think I got my number at 10pm with a return time of 12:15am. This made for a long night but I got my number and wristband late at night.
Gonna cut this short with a few notes:
- The “random” time assigned for the grand opening actually turned into a first come, first served with people in line getting sequential wristbands. The randomness was where you got in line.
- Kith – powered by Post-Its and sponsored by Sharpie. As you can see, the distributed tickets were handwritten Post-Its. The ticket distribution stalled when the security team up front ran out of Post-Its. Yes, for real.
- Could have been better, could have been worse. Yeah, the night was a mess, and there could have been improvements in communications with the people and within the security staff so they all knew the same info. But overall, there were no disruptions (the police did arrive though) and people who waited patiently got their tickets and wristbands.
- My first day at Kith ended past 1am on Friday morning.