Keauhou Beach Resort’s liquidation sale began Thursday offering a variety of items that drew large crowds as well as police.
Hawaii Police Department Kona Patrol Capt. Richard Sherlock said officers went to the hotel at 9:19 a.m. after dispatch received a call about a large crowd gathering and people beginning to push and shove one another. He said officers were unable to locate the caller, but spoke with two security guards who said the event was “in order.”
Three officers remained at the scene until around 10 a.m. No arrests were made.
According to people waiting in line to reach the hotel, a large crowd had gathered at the gate when the sale was slated to begin around 9 a.m. When asked to form a single line, yelling reportedly began.
“It was so unorganized with hordes of people in the driveway,” said Chris Verduzco, who said organizers told the crowd no one could enter until a line was created. “Then there was cutting (in line) and yelling.”
National Content Liquidators President Don Hayes said the police came to assist with the amount of people and traffic. He estimated nearly 1,000 people perused the sale. The hotel also opened its overflow parking to alleviate parking and traffic issues.
He also said his company allows only 300 people into the hotel at a time in order to “run a safe sale.”
Despite the efforts, many who came to the liquidation expressed frustration with the overall handling.
“This sucks,” declared Will Lazenby, as he left property empty-handed after deciding to leave while waiting in a long line to pay for items.
“This is supposed to be a professional company that has done thousands of these sales,” said his wife, Cathy. “It is just amateur. They could have done it so much better.”
Others like Penny Gupton said they knew what to expect when coming, even though it did take some time to get her hands on items such as pillows and luggage racks.
“It was a little disorganized to start with, but once you got in, it was fine,” she said.
Thousands of items of furniture, bar and other equipment, building fixtures and accessories are being sold during the liquidation. The sale is not an auction; each item is tagged with an assigned price.
Hayes said Thursday that the first day of the auction was limited to the first four floors of the hotel. Additional floors will open in the coming days.
The sale will continue for the next 30 days or until everything is sold out, which Hayes thinks might occur by Dec. 1. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Keauhou Beach Resort, which opened in 1970, closed Oct. 31. Kamehameha Schools made the decision, which left 112 employees out of work, after the property had six years of declining revenues. The resort will eventually be demolished, landscape restored and an educational center built.
National Content Liquidators has liquidated more than 800 properties, representing 300,000 rooms, in North America, invluding The Plaza in New York, the Sahara in Las Vegas, The Watergate in Washington and the Princeville Hotel on Kauai.