Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Land of Enchantment

Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you follow my blog, you know I was in Amarillo last week.  After leaving Texas, I drove 4 hours to Albuquerque - where I was fortunate enough to celebrate Greenleaf Albuquerque manager, Sandra Valdez’s 25th anniversary with Greenleaf.  

I also got a chance to experience the Land of Enchantment.   

The last time I was in Albuquerque I was 14.  I spent the summer with Tim Matsuno, who convinced my father, Ray Kitayama to open a chain of retail flower shops in Albuquerque.  This was 1974, I give Tim a lot of credit for thinking “out of the box.”  Felicity Flowers was ahead of its time and even though it did not succeed, it evolved into Greenleaf Albuquerque.  

Over the years, we have had many excellent managers in Albuquerque.  The current manager Sandra Valdez started 25 years ago as a driver and worked her way to the top which makes it especially nice to recognize her.   An extra treat for me was seeing one of my favorite Greenleaf people, Mary McEntee.  Mary retired a few years back, still pretty in pink and funny as ever.  Thank you Sandra for the hospitality and letting me spend time in your store. 

Albuquerque Florist 
Albuquerque Florist has been a great customer of Kitayama Brothers since our merger with GE Moore.  I met with Brennen Rigler who is the managing owner.   A short lunch turned into a great 2 hour conversation about the flower business.  Brennen knows there are a ton of challenges in the business but he is so positive he has opened a brand new 8,000 sq. ft. store.  We respect that spirit and wish Albuquerque Florist all the best with the new location.

Tent Rock and Santa Fe
Part of my trip to New Mexico was to visit my friends Judith and Emile.  Ex-New Yorkers who wanted wide open vistas and rainbow sherbet sunsets.  We hiked in Tent Rock which is on the Kochiti Pueblo.  It was a spectacular hike through a slot canyon ringed by the tent rocks.  On the way back we came across a Native American flute player who completed the whole sensory experience with haunting notes to match the landscape.  This is an old land with old traditions.  We ended the day in a Santa Fe hot springs.     




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