Hello Kitty bags at a Target on Oahu (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Hello Kitty bags at a Target on Oahu; I assume they have particular appeal to the Islands’ large Japanese tourist market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I was a fan of the Target stores even before my daughter Nancy started working there to pay for college. They have a clean, open layout that appeals to me, and their clothing, housewares and accessories are a particular favorite.

Still, I did not expect to shop at a Hawaii Target while on vacation. I mean, shouldn’t I be at a beach, or something?

Nancy really wanted to go to one of them on Oahu and do a little retail research to see what sort of changes they make to the merchandise offerings to appeal to that particular market. When I go to other countries, I find that some of the most unique (and affordable) travel souvenirs are at the local supermarket, drugstore or hardware store, so I thought, what the hell. Off to the store we went.

Here are some of the island-exclusive items that you will find at Target on Oahu:

Poi at a Target store on Oahu (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Poi at a Target store on Oahu (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Every time I’ve tried poi (pounded taro root) I’ve been at a loss to understand why anyone would eat it, but they do.

In fact, it’s a big part of revitalizing island culture.

University of Hawaii gear sold at a Target on Oahu (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

University of Hawaii gear sold at a Target on Oahu (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Instead of the Dallas Cowboys items in my hometown store in Texas, we found that in Hawaii it’s all about the local university. The University of Hawaii women’s sports teams are the Rainbow Wahine and the men’s teams are the Rainbow Warriors.

POG fruit drink at a Target on Oahu Hawaii (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

POG (Passionfruit Orange Guava) fruit drink at a Target on Oahu Hawaii (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

A tropical fruit drink made from a combination of passionfruit, orange juice and guava juice, POG is made by the Hawaiian dairy company Meadow Gold.

The name makes me smile because it rhymes with local slang vlog – “volcano fog” from the Big Island‘s still-active volcanoes.

Leis for sale at a Target on Oahu (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Flower leis ready to go at a Target on Oahu (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

My favorite discovery was a refrigerated case at the front of the store, selling fresh flower lei. Most were made of plumeria, which smells divine even if you ARE wearing a less expensive version grabbed at Target.

Are there unique local items at big chain stores in your town? Please tell us about them down in the comments!

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