Tractor Supply Co. to occupy former Safeway site

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Del’s Farm Supply in Hilo

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald The old Safeway building at Prince Kuhio Plaza

The former Safeway space at Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo soon will have a new tenant.

A lease was signed with Tractor Supply Co., confirmed mall management this week.

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The 39,525-square-foot space previously housed Safeway until the grocery giant moved less than a mile away to a new location on Makaala Street in 2011.

Daniel Kea, general manager of Prince Kuhio Plaza, said Tractor Supply Co. will lease the entire space.

According to Kea, Safeway had held the lease until December 2017 and was still paying rent when a proposed deal with Hawaii County to rent the space arose.

“We released (Safeway) from the lease because we thought the county deal was going to happen,” Kea said.

Although a County Council committee in October 2017 approved a resolution to rent the East Puainako Street location to jointly house its Office of Aging and Office of Housing and Community Development, county Property Manager Hamana Ventura told the Tribune-Herald last fall that the Safeway property was not something the county was pursuing at that time.

The mall had only been in search of a tenant for much of 2018, which Kea said is not long, “not for a major space like that.”

“I think it’s a great addition for us,” said Kea, who also said he had not had a chance to look through the lease. It’s “a little bit different from a normal mall,” but “I think it’s great for Hilo.”

Del’s Feed and Farm Supply, located on Kalanikoa Street, is owned by Tractor Supply Co., but it is not immediately known what the new lease would mean for the existing business.

Management there directed questions to Tractor Supply Co.

A spokeswoman for the company confirmed a projected fall 2019 opening but could not share any additional information Tuesday.

According to its website, Tractor Supply Co., based in Brentwood, Tenn., is the largest operator of “rural lifestyle” retail stores in America.

Founded in 1938 as a mail order tractor parts business, Tractor Supply owns and operates more than 1,700 stores in 49 states and supplies “basic maintenance products to home, land, pet and animal owners.”

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Customers can buy “everything except tractors,” the website states, including clothing, equine and pet supplies, tractor and trailer parts and accessories, lawn and garden supplies, sprinkler and irrigation parts, power tools, fencing, welding and pump supplies, riding lawn mowers and more.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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