KAPA‘A — The phone chirped, people peeked in, but the two ladies at Orchid Alley were stuck in the back yesterday.
“Mother’s Day is handled in four phases,” said Neill Sams, propietor of Orchid Alley. “We’re in phase two right now.”
Boxes were stacked along the main aisle of the tiny store located on the main road through Kapa‘a town, its contents securely packed while awaiting pickup from the delivery courier.
Over the past weekend, Neill and Fely Sams have been busy preparing for Monday and Tuesday, while trying to get a feel for the rest of the week.
Mother’s Day is traditionally one of the busiest days for florists, and for the Sams, that means flowering orchid plants that need shipping to Mainland customers and mothers.
“The first phase is preparing the shipping materials,” Neill said.
That means stacks of recycled newspaper need to be shredded and readied for the cartons that will house blooming orchid plants.
“We’re in phase two which is pack like mad,” Neill said with a chuckle. “After this, we prepare for the weekend orchid show and sale and get ready for the local customers.”
Orchid Alley has been operating “off-and-on,” on a part-time basis for the past two years since its operation in an alley adjacent to Pizzetta was disrupted when a vehicle ran through the location.
That incident destroyed not only some of the Sams’ specimens, but also the wall of the building where they anchored their alley operation.
But there was a blessing in that disruption as Fely used that time to have a series of eye operations done.
“We started doing regular hours about two weeks ago, now that Fely is fully recovered,” Neill said. “Now, we’re back to regular hours. We were open for Valentine’s Day, but it was only for a short time.”
Those hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
“But people like the alley atmosphere,” Neill said. “So, now that the building has been repaired, we’re working on moving the flowers back out into the alley where shoppers can view them like before. The whole thing should take place in a couple of weeks.”
Sams is a member of the Kaua‘i Orchid Society which will host its annual show and sale starting Friday at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center.
That event kicks off starting at 1 p.m. and will run until 7 p.m. On Saturday, the show reopens at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. where shoppers have an opportunity to view award-winning specimens as well as pick up a flowering orchid plant for Mother’s Day.
Fely said, this year the weather is nice across the nation and the orders for shipping are pouring in.
“We have been keeping in touch with our old customers,” she said. “And the secret is in the packing. The only thing we ask is that there is someone to receive the shipment when it arrives.”
Fely said they utilize UPS for shipping the flowers because the computerization system the shipper uses makes it easy to keep track of the shipments, and both she and the recipient know where the shipment is along the route.
This week, the Sams’ will be balancing taking care of local purchases both at their shop in Kapa‘a, and at the Kaua‘i Orchid Society show and sale at Kukui Grove.
•Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.