By ARLENE NAKAMURA
It was 1954 when a young couple, Hank and Ruth Yoshimizu, realized their dream of starting a business, and Haru Florist first opened its doors.
Coining the name from the first two letters of each of their names, Hank and Ruth, HaRu became the perfect name for their new shop in Boyle Heights. The Japanese word “haru” translates to “spring,” and it is the beautiful season of renewal when flowers bloom.
Hank and Ruth worked long hours to meet the needs of the Boyle Heights community. They developed a multitude of loyal customers who appreciated their creative floral pieces and their friendly and honest business practices. Their floral arrangements graced happy celebrations of weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and graduations as well as somber occasions of funerals, burials, and memorial services. Countless people have passed through their doors on the corner of First and Savannah streets.
In the early days, Hank, Ruth and their five children, Kary, Rodney, Sharen, Karen and Dani lived in their home behind the shop. So there was the ever-present feeling of family there. The shop also hired young college students, of which I was one. And we all became part of the “Flower Shop Family.”
As Hank and Ruth advanced in age, Sharen and Karen took on greater responsibility in the business as they continued Hank and Ruth’s commitment to excellence. In 2002, Karen’s older daughter Cheryl joined in the family business with younger daughter Melanie following in 2010. This remarkable team composed of three generations of the Yoshimizu family fulfilled a dream that began over six decades ago.
The Yoshimizu family was there for everyone and as much as their customers and friends appreciate them, the family is very quick to mention how very grateful they are to the community that supported them throughout their 67 years. Speaking on behalf of the family, Karen expressed her heartfelt gratitude to many:
”A huge THANK YOU to all of our wonderful and loyal customers. Every one of you is so special and like family. I would like to thank all of our employees that worked so hard for our family business. You were all so very appreciated! And thanks to those special friends who went out of their way to grow bamboo, nanten berries and ume when we were unable to get them for New Year’s. All your love made beautiful shochikubai and kadomatsu arrangements possible.You helped keep an important Japanese New Year tradition alive.
“We would also like to thank all of the churches, temples and businesses in our community that have made working at Haru Florist so rewarding. We will treasure the many friendships we have made and wish you all continued health and happiness throughout the years.”
Recently, due to changing times and circumstances, the very difficult decision to close the shop was made by the family. Haru Florist will close its doors on Feb. 1. Like many of you, hearing that this revered institution would close was initially a shock and hard for me to imagine. Yet, though I will miss everything about it dearly, the shop’s wonderful journey has come full circle.
From its opening in 1954 to its closing in 2021, what a wonderful legacy it leaves behind! Our collective memories of Haru Florist…of special friendships made, of great stories shared, of new lessons learned and of the beauty created by artistic hands…will last a lifetime. Many thanks to the family for the love, kindness and dedication shown in serving the community so well. You will definitely be missed.