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Sidney Kosasa, 86; founder of Hawaii's ubiquitous ABC Stores

November 25, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Sidney Kosasa, 86, the founder of the ABC Stores chain of convenience stores catering to tourists in Hawaii, died Nov. 17, the company said. Kosasa died in his sleep, but the cause of death was not reported.

Kosasa opened his first ABC store in 1964. The chain has since expanded it to 55 outlets in Hawaii, eight in Guam, two in Saipan and six in Las Vegas.

He was born in December 1919 in Palolo Valley on Oahu and attended UC Berkeley, where he earned a pharmacist's degree.

During World War II, he was sent to Tule Lake internment camp in Northern California. There he met and married his wife, Minnie.

After leaving the camp, he returned to Hawaii with his wife and worked in a drugstore. He eventually opened his own drugstore and within 10 years expanded the store to four locations.

While attending a convention in Miami Beach, he noticed all the tourists near the large hotels and came up with the idea for ABC Stores, as he predicted Waikiki would someday be as busy as the Florida beach.

ABC Stores now has locations all over Waikiki, serving as a spot for tourists to buy beach gear, food, souvenirs and local apparel.

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