Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Colorado Carnation

I was in Denver last week and I stopped by Associated Wholesale Florist. I had not been in that building for over 20 years. 

It is nice to see the McCarthy Group really putting a great effort to rebuild the brand and company. It will be a lot of work since Denver has to be one of the most competitive markets in the USA. The manager Rob Spikol has a lot of energy and I believe he will have great success there.

While I was there, I had a chance to talk to Bonnie Varner, a long time sales person at Associated. Bonnie has been in the flower business her whole life. Her father, uncle and grandfather were carnation growers in Denver from 1949 till 1999. 
I grew up on a carnation farm in Brighton which is about 20 north of Denver. We talked about Colorado carnations as big as football mums, and the good old days when they sold their carnations through Denver Wholesale and Davis Brothers. Colorado carnations are now a memory. 

I don’t think they are coming back, but for Bonnie and myself, we grew up with carnations and they had a large influence on determining our life paths. We both are, as J Schwanke termed it, “flower lifers”.    

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

San Francisco City College Design Team

Go Rams!


I want to give a big shout out to San Francisco City College’s Floral Design Team. They went to AIFD this year in Las Vegas and dominated. In the Student Competition, they won 1st place Overall School Award Highest Average Score at AIFD National Symposium in Las Vegas and also won 9 of the 15 awards.

Oxana Sanukova, Imelda Iraeta, Ariel Ermatinger, Mia Pettyjohn, Sungmun Ryun, Nicole Kastle, Ineke Moss

We know a lot of these students because SF City College is a big supporter of Kitayama Brothers and we are a big supporter of SF City College. They've entered our design contests, and all of the members in this year's winning team competed in our Open House Kitayama Cup Design Competition except for Ariel.   

2012 Kitayama Cup

Also we want to give a big thank you to Steven Brown and Jenny Tabarracci who give us a lot of help. There is no more important relationship for Kitayama Brothers than an organization that is educating the future flower users of America.

Great Job San Francisco City College! GO RAMS!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Flower Business/Family Business


Exactly a month ago, I participated in NORCAL Family Business Panel at Fun N Sun with Richard Armellini (Armellini Trucking), Bob Wilkins (Delaware Valley Wholesale), Laura Shinall (Syndicate Sales), Ed Van Wingerden (Ever-Bloom Flowers) and Michael A Mellano (Mellano & Company). 

It was a very impressive group to sit with. Because the topic was “Family Business”, everyone was very engaged and candid. I won’t go into detail but a lot of inside company and family business was shared.

Kurt Glassman (Facilitator) with Ted Kitayama and Gary Merrill

As a fun follow up, let's see how well you know these industry peers. 

Match the “comment” with the panelist.
  1. “It was a relief when we were told, it would be better for the company if someone else ran it.”
  2.  “We were told what to do and accepted it, two cousin were told, “you two are going into business  together” and they did.”
  3.  “If you are not one of the boys, you never will be, its better to be yourself.”
  4. “You are like 4 sticks, bound together you can’t be broken.”
  5. “My father came home one day and said, “you are now the President”,
  6. “Family business is not easy.”  
     a.      _____ Richard Armellini
     b.      _____ Bob Wilkins
     c.      _____ Laura Shinall
     d.      _____ Ed Van Wingerden
     e.      _____ Michael Mellano
     f.       _____ Robert Kitayama

 Blog Contest!

The first 3 to respond with the correct matches will win a KB hat!