Flowers For All Occasions
By Alan Tada
Owner of Flowers Forever
Tell us about your business. Flowers Forever is a full-service flower shop located in Lihu’e. We have worldwide delivery and ship tropical flowers and leis throughout the United States by Federal Express. We also offer stuffed animals, balloons, candy, chocolates, gourmet baskets, wines and champagnes in-shop. The business arranges flowers for conventions, funerals and weddings as well. On average we do about 12 to 15 weddings a week and supply to most of the funerals that occur on-island.
How did you get started in this business? Originally I started this business in 1976 from my house. We were a wood rose and dried flower business, which is why it’s called Flowers Forever. I used to ride dirt bikes, and when we were on the trails in the mountain areas I noticed the first wood rose, and I had an idea from there. We started by just preserving the wood roses, putting them on stems and selling them to vendors at Spouting Horn. They would give a free wood rose for every trinket or necklace a visitor bought. We were eventually selling about 3,000 or 4,000 wood roses a month. It was good money at that time. After that I learned how to arrange flowers and eventually hired retired women and taught them how to make arrangements in their homes. I’d give them all their supplies and pick up the finished products, box them up and sell them to the gift shops. So we started wholesaling to gift shops and eventually branched off to Honolulu. By 1982 we started our first fresh flower retail shop.
Where did you grow up and what school did you attend? I grew up on Kaua’i and graduated from Kaua’i High School.
What sets your business apart? Experience and good professional people who work here and take their jobs very seriously.
Why do you do what you do? The average employee here has been with me for more than 15 years, some 20. They enjoy what they do, and I just want them to have a job.
What motivates you to get up and go to work? My happy employees.
What is your motto for doing business? Mahalo for the opportunity to serve you.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? The last two years have been the most challenging with the economic situation. We had to do some cutbacks as far as labor is concerned, as well as in my purchasing of my flowers. Before, we used to be unlimited and I could purchase whatever I wanted, but now I have to be really aware of that cost. Freight is also a big problem here. On the average, for every dollar I spend, I pay 50 to 60 cents freight.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? Seeing a happy bride having everything go perfectly for her wedding or making a customer’s day when they receive flowers. Even possibly helping someone save their love life or helping to ease the pain for people who have lost loved ones.
How do you measure success? As far as money-wise, just being able to support my workers and give them a job.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Golfing, fishing and spending more time with my grandchildren.
What are your plans for the future? Stay alive.
2979 Kalena St.
Hours: 8 a.m-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday,
8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Islandwide delivery service every day of the week.