Wednesday, July 31, 2013

If You Can Make It Here...

New York! New York!

This summer, my daughter Maya is spending 6 weeks in New York City in a Alvin Ailey Dance Program. I went to visit her and some other friends in New York last week. I haven’t been in New York for 2 years and it looked great. The streets were clean, all the bars and restaurants were full and bustling. You wouldn’t know Hurricane Sandy did so much damage just last year.  

However, there is one part of New York City that is not what it once was. The Flower District on 28th Street in Chelsea is a mere shadow of what it once was. I was told by John Kiamos of Associated Wholesale Florist, “There once were 60 wholesale florists and now there are 16 on 28th Street.”  

I wasn’t there for business but I wondered where all the flowers come from. Manhattan has the best deli/mart flowers in the USA. All display very nice arrays of flowers. I can’t vouch for the freshness, but they are attractive. Where do they come from? I imagine a lot of flowers come in from out of town via trucks and the rest are drop shipped into flower users.

We will have to investigate. There is a good chance that Maya will go to college in NYC. I think we should start look into selling flowers there. I always like to visit where we have customers.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

KB California Carnations

Intrigued by the title?


We're just back from Fun N Sun in Santa Barbara and a lot of attendees said it was the best Fun N Sun yet.  Kitayama Brothers staff and shareholders had a great time and I think we may have gained a little business.  Imagine that, actually feeling like a trade show was worth all the effort. Thanks NORCAL!  

One of the reasons the show was successful is because the flowers, the farmers and the programs were genuine. Nowadays consumers want genuine. Fun N Sun was a collection of the finest growers in California and each has a genuine story about how they have survived and thrived in this great but challenging industry. 

Another reason we like to attend these events is we have to periodically think outside of the box. I attended a presentation by J Schwanke where he lamented the fact that there might only be one carnation grower left in the USA.   

Later on that evening after a few drinks, J had me almost convinced that Kitayama Brothers should grow carnations again. “You were once the carnation kings!”  It is true, we once were the biggest carnation grower in the USA.   

It's so retro it might work. So if anyone actually reads this blog, let me know your thoughts. Does KB California grown carnations sound like a good idea?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Family Business

Fun N Sun N Family: (NORCAL’s Family Business Seminar)

This week is NORCAL’s Fun N Sun Floral Convention in Santa Barbara. The rooms are all sold out and the tours are full. It's great to hear that so many customers have come to California to see what flower growers are up to out here.  

Kitayama Brothers is such a fan of Santa Barbara that we are holding our annual shareholder meeting in conjunction with Fun and Sun and approximately 35 of our shareholders will attend. And because most flower businesses are family businesses, NORCAL has developed a Family Business Seminar for Saturday 7/20 from 8:30am. It will include an amazing panel of Bob Wilkins (Delaware Valley Wholesale), Michael A Mellano (Mellano Company), Laura Shinall (Syndicate Sales), Ed Van Wingerden (Ever-Bloom) and Richard Armellini (Armellini). The panel will be led by Kurt Glassman of Leadership One.  

We believe there is no better way for our shareholders to understand family flower business than listening to the wisdom and experiences of the other leading flower families. Kitayama Brothers is sponsoring the event because we believe family business education is crucial to the future health of our company and many other flower companies. Please attend if you are at Fun N Sun. Flowers, family and business can be challenging, but when it works it can be incredibly rewarding.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Introducing KB Mini Gerberas!

NEW, NEW, KB Mini Gerberas


I am proud to announce Kitayama Brothers now grows mini gerbera daisies. We have had requests for mini gerberas for years but we felt like we weren’t large enough to handle both standard and mini gerbera programs. 

However, after expanding to more than 300,000 sq. ft. of gerberas, we felt that mini gerberas would enhance our gerbera program along with standard and gerrando gerbera daisies.  


Mini gerberas are smaller and compliment standard gerberas or other flowers very well. They are long lasting, hardier and a little less money than standard gerberas. In the US, more standard gerberas are grown, it is the exact opposite in Europe where mini gerberas are the dominant type. 

Go ahead and give us a call regarding our mini gerberas, oh and if you don’t know what a gerrando is, ask your KB salesperson to describe it.