Stadium officials say the current operator of the swap meet implemented new regulations for tent installers that went into effect on January 1.

Saturday, January 4th 2020, 5:24 PM HST by Nicole Tam

The new year came with new safety rules for Aloha Stadium’s swap meet but that caused a headache for some vendors Saturday morning.

“We showed up and there weren’t any tents set up. Normally when we come in, everybody is already set up,” Jessica Halley, a swap meet vendor, said.

Some people come in before the day begins to set up tents for vendors. Since the new year, they now need to register with the stadium, provide a current safety check for their trucks that go on the property, tag their trucks with the company name and their employees must wear a vest to stay visible. Administrators say all parties met to discuss the changes several months ago but none were compliant today so no one was allowed in. That put a pause to some businesses that rely on their service.

“A lot of vendors that were upset, frustrated, didn’t know what was going on, what to do, had plenty questions, didn’t know who to turn to, didn’t know who to answer, that’s understandable,” Chris Tesche, another swap meet vendor, said.

Hundreds of locals and tourists visit the marketplace. With less tents, some vendors say they’re worried about less foot traffic and income.
“The swap meet, for a lot of these guys I work with, this is most of our income, comes from our swap meet. We get a lot of our tourists right outta here,” Tesche said.

One tenant brings their own tent every time to ensure business can go on as usual.

“You always have to be prepared, especially when you’re relying somebody else. You can’t really rely on other people. Even if they’re good business, things like this do happen,” Halley said.

Aloha Stadium provided KITV4 with a statement on behalf of Centerplate, the operator of the swap meet, saying “We apologize to the swap meet vendors that have been affected by these new regulations. Centerplate is currently in talks with all tent installers to remedy the situation.”

Some merchants were also concerned about changes to set-up time but the stadium says there are no changes. To address noise concerns from neighboring residents, stalls near the street can’t set up until 6 a.m. while others towards the back can start as early as 4 a.m.