01/06/2015 01:40 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2015

Honolulu's Airport Lei Sellers Struggle With Constant Change

Denby Fawcett/Civil Beat

The lei sellers at the Honolulu International Airport say their daily struggle to stay in business would be eased if they had 15-year leases like they did in the past, and more respect.

They mean respect from their landlord, the State Airports Division, and respect from some of their tightwad customers who continue to haggle with them to sell leis for $2 and $3 apiece, even though the cost to hand string each lei has increased exponentially.

Ever since the state moved the airport lei sellers in the early 1990’s to the concrete structure by the departures ramp, they have been on revocable month-to-month permits. Their location is so difficult to find, lei seller Myrna Milan Chun says, “Some of our friends don’t even know we are here.”