Living in the Kona area is definitely living in a small town. For one thing, the square formed by Henry, Ali’i Drive, Makala and Quen Kaahumanu Hwy is commonly referred to as “town” or “downtown”. It’s not a very big square, either. On Ali’i, you essentially enter town once you get to the Royal Kona Resort, and you leave once you get to the King Kamehameha Hotel (aka Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel). There’s a bit that jogs out from there along Kuakini Highway, down to Old A’s Rec Area at Makala. Among the people I’ve spoken with, the area outside of this is not considered in “town”, although Kailua Kona itself stretches up and down the coast and inland.
Recently, I experienced two upsides to living a small-town life here. I drove down to Captain Cook to pick up a silent auction item that I won from SKEA a couple of weeks ago, and pulled in at the Spirit gas station to get gas and meet the woman who would give me the item. To my surprise, an employee was there at the pumps providing the gas. When I commented on the full-service provided, he said it’s a requirement in two states, but they like to provide the extra service to their customers. Pretty great that I didn’t have to get out and maneuver around with the crutch!
The other experience was when my mailman, George, came up to my lanai and told me that I had put insufficient postage on an envelope I dropped at the mailbox up at the shopping center. I happened to have my wallet with stamps in it on me, and he told me how many additional stamps I needed and said he would take care of it getting mailed since the existing stamps were already cancelled. That’s personal service that is very appreciated, and something I’d never experience in my condo complex in the Bay.
I also see this small-town experience in how people will refer you to their friends and family. For example, the office manager at my PT office is married to a mechanic at a local shop that has experience in Toyotas, so she suggested I go there with my RAV4. I have a relationship with her, so I trust that he will take care of me.
Personal service like this is something that I look forward to getting used to!