With the extension of Highway 11 (Kuakini Highway) in 1967, traffic that formerly passed by Keauhou Store was diverted; and new businesses began to grow in the fishing village of Kailua-Kona down on the coast. Mamalahoa Highway, the road that served islandwide travelers, salemen and citizens since its days as footpath around the Big Island, to a horse and buggy road, and finally a paved 2-lane blacktop for Model A’s, was being left in the dust of ‘progress’. Yoshisuke, who grew and prospered with his upcountry family store on this scenic highway, lived a long, creative life and passed away at age 88.
Rikio continued to run the store, but in 1995 he decided to remove the gas pumps and tanks, rather than replace them as required by the EPS. Business slowed further, and as the years passed, the store was only open a few hours a day.
Rikio never married, and passed away in 2009. With no children to inherit, the store passed to his older brother Gilbert, age 88, on O'ahu. Neither Gilbert, nor other family members wanted to take on the business, so it was put up for sale - which is where Kurt & Thea Brown came in.