Wednesday | December 13, 2017
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Everything goes: Bargains galore at former Uncle Billy’s hotel furniture liquidation sale

The former Uncle Billy’s hotel is attracting its last customers — for a liquidation sale.

A tent sale at the Pagoda Hilo Bay Hotel — formerly known as Uncle Billy’s — marks the end of an era for the Banyan Drive establishment, which recently was forced to close because of health and safety violations. Savio ABH Development took over the hotel’s lease last year from Hilo Bay Hotel Inc., which later became a revocable permit. The state Land Board anticipates tearing the hotel down and seeking a new long-term lease.

Shoppers on Thursday expressed surprise at the diverse selection of hotel furniture under tents at the former longtime Hilo landmark.

“My husband came, and then he called me — I had to come,” said Belinda Hamilton of Pahoa, who home schools the couple’s three children.

The family got a marble-top table Thursday, which almost wouldn’t fit in the back of their truck, and a large, ornate mirror.

Traffic was so busy Thursday during the sale that workers had to direct the flow.

Bed sets, chairs, bedding and spare parts for plumbing and wiring were moving at a brisk pace. But the sale is scheduled to continue daily, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., until all is sold.

“Everything you see here today represents one floor,” said Dana Kenny, vice president and principal broker with Savio Realty. “We’ve got five more floors.”

Jonathan Mendoza, a training specialist with Catholic Charities of Hawaii, got a call about the sale from a colleague.

“I didn’t even hear about it. My co-worker heard about it, and she said, ‘bring your car,’” he said.

The two got three sets of twin mattresses for foster kids who get help from the charity. One new mattress can cost $300, Mendoza said, so the deals on complete bed sets help. If there was storage space available, Mendoza said, he’d have gotten even more beds because the group sees a steady stream of keiki in need of foster care.

As dozens of people streamed in and out of the tent sale, many said they plan to return again today and later this weekend.

“Our problem, actually, is we can’t bring the stuff out of the rooms fast enough,” Kenny said.

Beverly Smith of Hilo, a retired postal supervisor, said she got two bedspreads for her spare bedroom.

“I picked them because they were the only two that looked the same,” she said.

“It’s a good sale. I’m going to try to get back tomorrow morning, earlier.”

Tents in the parking lot are shading rows of chairs, cabinets and tables. Inside, rooms are full of bedding piled high, folding chairs, foldable luggage stands, ironing boards, soap and shampoo kits, free TVs, free bed pads, free bed skirts, $5 and $10 blankets, $5 bath towels and tables with boxes containing labels such as “air conditioner tape.”

Volunteer Lei Stassart of Hawaiian Paradise Park said the work is hot but the sale is going well and things are well-organized.

“It’s hard for the workers to catch up,” said Bryant Mira of Hilo, who was helping Stassart keep a stack of mattresses in balance.

The two did a fist bump to congratulate each other on a job well done.

Maria Martin of Hilo picked up a free TV for a friend who doesn’t have one.

She advises bargain shoppers to “bring a truck and your wallet — there’s some pretty good deals.”

Martin also got an ironing board and a hair dryer.

“I may come back later with my husband,” she said. “To try and get a bed.”

Today, the Land Board will consider granting Tower Development, which wants to build a new hotel at the site, a revocable permit to secure the facilities.

Email Jeff Hansel at


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