Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year from Kitayamabrosland

Happy New Year Everyone!!

2013 was a great year for Kitayama Brothers, and we see no reason why 2014 won’t be more of the same.  Of course, we have all of you to thank...thank you for your support and friendship.  

Here is a little video from a recent 75 degree day at Sunset Beach. It is a little alarming to be this nice this time of year. 

We are hoping for rain, but for now, we will take advantage of the nice weather.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lei Ladies of Honolulu


One of the reasons I love my job, it allows me to travel to Honolulu a few times a year to visit our customers.  A few weeks ago, Linda Nguyen and I were in Honolulu to deliver Christmas greens and visit our friends.  


A group that we adore and I want to see thrive and survive are the lei ladies of Chinatown and the airport.  Leis are one of the nicest ways to utilize flowers.  On the mainland, we never see the array of exotic leis which are so beautiful.  And when you realize the amount of flowers and work involved - they are an incredible value.   

Chinatown Lei Shops 
In Chinatown Honolulu there are about 13 lei shops.   We stopped to talk to our customers Bronson at Lei of the Island, Mimi and Sam at MP Lei Shop, then Ronny and Cindy at Cindy’s Lei Shoppe.  A few blocks from Chinatown, we stopped at Sunrise Leis to check in on Edith who recently broken her wrist.  Edith is an “Auntie” and has been a great supporter of KB for years and years. We were relieved to see she is up and selling leis again.   We heard the number of lei shops in Chinatown is growing which is surprising but wonderful to hear.

Airport Lei Shops
I had never been to the airport lei shops, but Linda’s customer and friend Milan of Martha’s Leis Stand has her shop there.  The lei shops at the airport started when the tradition of giving leis to arriving passengers.  

Today there are about 10 lei shops at the airport with easy and convenient parking.  

Imagine just $3.00 for a single dendro lei, why wouldn’t you give your arriving friends a lei? 

Lei Future
Another prediction, wearable flowers are a future trend, the lei is where it will have originated from.  We just need Miley Cyrus to start wearing them…


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Out and About: Observations

A few weeks ago, I was in San Francisco where Ocean View Flowers was featured at a Safeway Grand Re-opening of their Market Street store.  I was impressed with the fact that Safeway was letting a flower brand be featured.  I also loved the promotion of the California Grower. 

It is amazing where some of the best flowers come from.  A week back, I went to visit one of our hydrangea growers to see where her beautiful hydrangeas are grown.  We can’t tell you the location, but it is an amazing crop of hydrangeas that are grown under a canopy of oak trees.  I wouldn’t call it high tech, but I would put these against any other producer.

Something that blew my mind while I was out and about was the new American Girl Doll Store at the Stanford Shopping Center.  Stanford Shopping Center probably has some of the most expensive mall space in the USA.  When I first saw the store going up I thought, “This is crazy, how can they afford a 2-story 10,000 sq ft. store for dolls?” As you can see in the picture, I apparently don’t know what is popular.   We need to understand how to get more American Girls crazy about flowers along with their dolls.

Everyone in the flower business gets up early.  Whether you are going to the flower market, opening your store for business or in my case heading for the farm, a nice sunrise helps start the day.  

This is a common morning at the entrance to KB.  


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

KB Blog: Wine and Roses

Wine and Roses: Benefit for the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust (pvhealthtrust.org)
A week ago, Kitayama Brothers sponsored a table for the Wine and Roses - 30th anniversary charity event.  10 KB staff and guests were able to spend a few hours at the Santa Cruz fairgrounds sampling the local wine and food of Santa Cruz County.  We enjoy eating and drinking while feeling good about ourselves.  Just about everyone I know in Watsonville comes to Wine and Roses.  

Here's a picture of Joe and Jim with Scott.  Joe worked with me at Cal Pacific Flowers 20 years ago, and now he sells flowers for himself.  Jim was Ryder Flowers; they had very interesting, novelty flowers.  I wish he still grew flowers locally. 

We see Natal with his Natal Port. KB sales manager Tony Scalisi goes a long way back with Natal.  He is a customer and supplier.  His port is sweet, but I like it.

It is nice to see KB Mass Market Manager Karen Nakamura, Grower Jimmy Zheng and HR Manager Maria Ledesma get out together.  I enjoy working, eating and drinking with them.


Once upon a time, Watsonville, CA was the top rose growing area in the USA; Kitayama Brothers was the largest grower.  Today there is one rose grower left in Watsonville, Pajarosa who grows beautiful roses.  

Pajarosa Roses Here is a display of their roses. 

Roses area my favorite flower.  I have flirted with peonies, iris, lilies, gardenias, lisianthus, gerberas, etc., but carnations and roses defined Kitayama Brothers. Roses are the Queen of Flowers.   

I predict before I leave Kitayama Brothers, we will grow roses again.