Wednesday, February 26, 2014

KB Wanderings


I was in downtown Palo Alto, CA last Thursday night meeting my wife Karen for a drink. As I was crossing Emerson Street, I looked up and was saddened to see that Stanford Florist had closed.  

I wasn’t surprised. The owners are older now, and a friend of theirs was trying to take care of business, but the writing was on the wall.  The real estate in Palo Alto is close to Manhattan prices, and the store is in a very prime area surrounded by tech start-ups, trendy bars and restaurants.  

I remember this shop because 24 years ago, I drove a “wet truck” trying to convince the German owner to buy our flowers, “Only if you don’t sell to the florist next door.”   The neighbor was another German florist who had formerly worked for her before quitting and opening next door.  Once upon a time, Palo Alto had 15 florists, today there are 5.  

Business continues to evolve and the local florist has become a victim of the changing retail landscape.  Progressive florist will continue to thrive by offering products and services not available through the mass market or online, but “it will never be like it used to be.”  I suppose that is the definition of "change."


We are expecting a storm this week; this is welcome news to all Californians.  This storm will not end the drought and the flower industry holds its breath that we will not be affected by the drought long term.  One industry that has had a bad year is the ski industry.  

I was up in South Lake Tahoe skiing at Heavenly for only the second time this year.  The skiing wasn’t bad, however, you can look down from the California trail and see all the brown around Lake Tahoe, usually the shores are completely white this time of year.  

Mt Tallac from Fallen Leaf Lake


It is beautiful but usually in February, we would not be able to hike to Fallen Leaf.  Where we would usually walk, there would be 2 or 3 feet of snow. This year, there was none.  And as much as I enjoy the novelty of walking to the beach without any snow, it leaves an uneasy feeling. 

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