Hawaii Strong: After overcoming 2020, Kapahulu florist still holding on and bracing for future

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 3:43 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 13, 2021 at 5:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Each one of Michael Miyashiro’s arrangements at Rainforest has its own distinct look and nothing is mass produced.

“You come in every week, you’ll never see the same flower twice,” said Miyashiro, Rainforest’s owner and founder. “Everybody is different. What’s interesting for one person is totally opposite for somebody else.”

The one-man run flower shop in Kapahulu has provided the personal touch for decades, but last year’s COVID business shutdowns put him at a breaking point.

With perishable, imported inventory, a florist can’t close at a moment’s notice.

“Hawaii is a very unique place where everything is shipped from all over the world whether it’s South Africa, North America, South America, Asia, you name it,” Miyashiro said. “Once it’s in process, it’s impossible to cancel that, so when we were during lockdown, FedEx would drop off boxes in front of our door, which literally piled up. We had 20 or 30 boxes that were just out there.”

Twenty or 30 boxes meant tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Considered non-essential, Rainforest wasn’t allowed to open despite designing safety features, including sanitizing, UV lighting and customer limits.

Leading up to Mothers Day 2020, florists weren’t allowed to open until days before the holiday.

“You put your order in on Christmas for Mother’s Day and here we are just going on the phones looking at what we can get, what can we bring in?” Miyashiro said. “It was like a scramble. It was the craziest Mother’s Day I’ve ever had because to be open within a week and to have flowers a week for Mother’s Day was almost virtually impossible.”

Miyashiro coped with a limited supply from here and the continental United States and crafted orders for scores of loyal customers

Eighteen months into the pandemic, business is holding on, but Miyashiro is thankful to have made it through thus far while still giving making every order feel special.

“We don’t want you to come in here and get the same dozen roses 50 times,” Miyashiro said. “That’s not what we do. We want to give you a new experience. We want to introduce you to something different and still like me, everyday being surprised in this flower industry, there’s always new things to learn, new things to find.”

And new ways to keep thriving.

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