VIDEO: Last day at Ebesugawa Sisters’ flower shop

Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar

Ann Ebesugawa Kaya and State Senator Gil Kahele on the last day of shop

HILO, Hawaii: After 80 years in business, the little flower shop on Furneaux Lane –  a Hilo town institution – is closing its doors.

90 year old Ann Ebesugawa Kaya, the last of six well-known sisters to operate the Ebesugawa Sisters flower shop, is about to get a much deserved break.

On Saturday, Ann prepared her last commercial flower arrangements and floral leis. For the last time, faithful customers came to pick up orders and bid Ann good luck in her retirement.

Also stopping by: State Senator Gil Kahele, who presented a special comendation to Ann for her family’s years of hard work.

The shop has been synonymous with Hilo’s small town, mom-and-pop business culture. The sisters have seemed like a permanent fixture Downtown… the shop’s busy, open doors are even immortalized on Google Street View, as if its an unchanging feature in the local landscape.

On Saturday morning, Ann was still working hard. No slowing down on this final day…

It was just around the corner from here on Keawe Street where Ann’s father started the retail produce business named Ebesu’s in 1932. Ann’s dreams of college took a back seat to the family business. But her father also preached strength in family unity.

Only time could erode that family strength. Sisters Nappy, Sachi and Ruby no longer work at the flower shop, and sister Kay – who was able to help – died at age 94 in July. The sixth sister, Sets, is also deceased.

Now, Ann turns her horticultural eye from the flower shop freezer to her plants at home, leaving behind a vacancy at this little store front on Furneaux, and in the hearts of her generations of customers.

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2 Responses

  1. Jessie Hiinger

    My first time in Hilo Town, over 40 years ago, I received a fruit basket from Ebesu, Such big, juicy lichee. Hilo was a town of little mom and pop, mostly Japanese stores. I moved to Ka’u in the 70′s and bought many flowers and fruit from the sisters. It wasn’t just the flowers, which were always fresh and beautiful, but the aloha of the sisters. to everyone, even a haole like me. My last purchase was a double pekake lei for a valued elder on her birthday. Hilo changed but not Ebesu. I never knew anyone work so hard and long. Have a wonderful retirement, you deserve it!

    Reply
  2. Diane Ahuna

    I lived in Hilo for four years, and loved the Ebesu shop, and the sweet, little sisters who worked there.
    they were always so sweet to me, have received so many of their flowers over many years, and for my
    wedding.
    I shall miss them when I come to Hilo.

    Many Mahalos and love,

    Diane Ahuna

    Reply

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