Sunday, May 13, 2001

Mother’s Day
business floods
isles’ retailers

Florists, restaurants and
phone companies bear
the most burden

Hawaii Kai residents will have
a tough time calling Mom

By Lisa Asato

What was it that mom always said? "Don't wait until the last minute"?

Not everyone followed that advice this Mother's Day.

Orders at Fujikami Florist on Pensacola Street have been streaming in since the start of May, said shop owner Stephen Fujikami. And with a staff of 15 and deliveries numbering 1,000 just in the past four days, new customers are being turned away.

"We take phone lines off the hook, close down our Web site, things like that," said Fujikami, whose father started the shop in 1919. "We don't like to, but we have to; we have limited resources, too."

Fujikami said the occasion brings in at least three to four times the average volume of orders, many of which come from Hawaii students going to college on the mainland.

"I really wish things could be spread out more," he said. "Maybe Mother's Day could be spread out for the whole month. That would be nice."

Across town, Kengo's Restaurant Lounge plans to double its staff today to handle the 600 customers it has booked for its four shifts off Mother's Day lunch and dinner buffets. Reservations started coming in two months ago, and the restaurant was fully booked a week ago, said manager Caryn Komiyama.

For those turned away, however, some opted to celebrate a little early. "Some came (yesterday)," she said.

At Varsity Flowers and Greenhouse in McCully, Joni Marcello said the shop started turning away requests yesterday. He said they've been getting 150 requests a day for Mother's Day deliveries - up from the normal average of 20. 

"It's the biggest holiday because everybody has a mother, whether it's an aunty, grandmother or good family friend," she said.

Brian Blevins, spokesman for Verizon Hawaii, said Christmas Day and Mother's Day are traditionally the peak days for long-distance calls. Blevins said nationwide, the company expects to handle 950 million calls today, an increase of 10 percent over last year. The holiday demand doesn't significantly affect the U.S. Postal Service.

Although the service sees "a definite increase in cards, packages and express mail," it doesn't compare to the Christmas season, said Rudy Salazar, a letter carrier in Hawaii Kai. Salazar, a postal employee for 16 years, admits that procrastination almost got the best of him this Mother's Day.

"My package is going to California, and I got it out yesterday right before the deadline," he said. "I had to get it out for my mom, or I'm in big trouble."

Hawaii Kai residents
will have a tough time
calling Mom

Star-Bulletin staff

A number of Hawaii Kai residents won't be able to make or receive calls on Mother's Day, as crews continue to restore phone service to 3,500 residents one line at a time.

The customers in Hahaione were cut off when a contractor cut through a cable. The cost of repairs is estimated at $100,000.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, Verizon had restored telephone service to 400 customers and expected to get more customers back into service through the night, "possibly at a rate of 35 an hour," said Verizon spokesman Brian Blevins.

Customers whose phone service remains cut can use their calling cards to make long-distance calls at a bank of eight phones in the parking lot of the Oahu Club at 6800 Hawaii Kai Drive.

Customers can also send local faxes free of charge at the former Phone Mart in the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center. The machine will also accept faxes from the mainland. The number is (808) 396-0900. The phone mart is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

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