Fuel prices hike Mother’s Day costs

KAPA‘A — Fely Sams realized she was going to be busy the day after Mother’s Day.

Already engrossed with piles of orchid orders requiring shipping, Sams said there are those who realize that it’s too late to ship this week, so are putting it off until Monday.

“Mother’s Day is the busiest shipping day of the year,” said Sams, the owner of Orchid Alley in Kapa‘a. “We actually ship three times a week, but on Mother’s Day, the orders are a lot more than normal.”

Sams ships on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and normally, says they do about 10 to 20 orders in that time span. But with Mother’s Day looming Sunday, Sams said they’ve already shipped out 30 boxes on Monday and had another 20-plus boxes waiting for pick up by the United Parcel Service van, Tuesday.

“We’ll ship another 20 or so boxes Wednesday and then it’ll be time to concentrate on the local customers and the Kaua‘i Orchid Show and Sale at Kukui Grove,” Sams said.

Adding to her woes, Sams, who uses a computer to generate shipping labels, said the constantly rising fuel costs have forced her to visit the UPS Web site constantly.

“The computer locks us out until we check on the current fuel surcharge,” Sams said. “Last week, it went up three times, and today, it’s already gone up once.”

The rising cost of fuel has added to the shipping charges for customers who want orchids shipped to the Mainland, creating a situation where the shipping costs more than the flowers, Sams said.

But that hasn’t stopped the customers from coming in to pick out an orchid or two to ship to their Mother’s Day recipients.

Yesterday, a traffic accident just north of Kealia Kai had a rippling effect on the shop tucked away next to Pizzetta’s in Kapa‘a.

It affected Deedee Gorospe, Sams’ helper, who juggles between driving a school bus and helping at the little orchid outlet.

“She left early because of the accident,” Sams said. “Normally, she’s here until about 1:30 p.m. before having to bus students from Kilauea School. But with the accident, she had to leave about 1 p.m. Hopefully, she made it to the school on time.”

Sams said once the final shipping box leaves, she and Gorospe concentrate on the local shoppers who come in before Sunday.

“I’ll be making some baskets for Mother’s Day,” Sams said. “For this year, the phalaenopsis growers came out with a red or close-to-red phalaenopsis that was created just for Mother’s Day.”

Sams, whose husband Neill is an orchid enthusiast, said red phalaenopsis orchids are usually hard to find, but this new breed was available during the recent spring orchid show in Hanapepe and sold out.

Neill is also a member of the Kaua‘i Orchid Society which is hosting the annual Orchid Show and Sale on Friday and Saturday at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center.

Shoppers can browse and inspect show winners as well as shop for Mother’s Day blooming orchids and gifts at the mall exhibit area between 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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