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7 Joys of Selling Vinyl Records in Hawaii

Kailua records store moves to Honolulu.


Rising rents have squeezed Hungry Ear Records out of its tiny storefront in Kailua, where it has been selling music since 1980. On July 19, the Kailua shop will close for good—a sad day for record lovers on the Windward side, but a good thing for those who live in town. Ward Yamashita and Dennie Chong, Hungry Ear’s owners, will reopen their store in a larger and more affordable space, at 2615 King St., near the University of Hawaii.  To mark this milestone in Hungry Ear’s 35-year history, we present Yamashita and Chong’s reflections on the joys of working in an authentic, old-fashioned record store.

1. On a good day you can: sell a kid his very first record player.


2. Settle a bet over which Beatles album came out first, “Revolver” or “Rubber Soul.”

It was “Rubber Soul,” released December 1965.

3. Help a tourist family choose music that will forever remind them of their vacation in Hawaii.

“Some like hula, some hate hula. Some want songs in English, some want them in Hawaiian. Everybody likes slack key,” Yamashita says.

4. Fill in the last LP in a teenager’s Pink Floyd collection.

“It’s always the early stuff they’re looking for,” says Chong. “Everybody already has ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’”

5. Put on an obscure jazz record to see if it has scratches, and end up with a new favorite album.

That’s how Yamashita discovered George Duke. “I really like this album!”

6. Sell a bunch of kids a genuine vinyl record to satisfy a scavenger hunt list.


7. Take a selfie with Eddie Vedder.

Chong with Pearl Jam’s frontman.


The Hawaii Record Fair, which Hungry Ear Records promotes every year, will be held Sunday, July 27 at the McKinley High School Cafeteria from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Record Fair gathers together the cream of Hawaii's music vendors and collectors, for the state's largest selction of vinyl records, compact discs, cassette tapes and music memorabilia. For more information, visit hawaiirecordfair.com.

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Honolulu Magazine June 2018
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