Have you ever wondered where the Shinoda in Shinoda Design Center’s name comes from? Our family name represents more than just the ownership of the company. It also represents over 100 years of service and leadership within the floral industry. Shinoda family members have served in many of the industry’s local, state, and national organizations and associations. What follows is a short history that covers six generations of the Shinoda family, and a span of over 100 years.
In 1906, Kumaichiro Shinoda established what would become the San Lorenzo Nursery Company, in Oakland, California. The Shinoda family continued to grow flowers in the Bay Area until 1985.
In 1921, the family expanded into Southern California. Kumaichiro sent two of his sons to open growing farms. Eldest son Tomitaka opened a farm in Monrovia. Meanwhile, son Paul opened a farm in Santa Barbara. In addition, a wholesale operation was opened at the Southern California Flower Market.
In July 1933, Joseph Shinoda, the sixth of nine children born to Kumaichiro, became president of San Lorenzo Nursery Co. During his presidency, which lasted until his death on January 21, 1964, the company prospered and became the largest floral operation in the United States. Wholesale locations opened in Santa Ana, CA, San Diego, CA, San Jose, CA, Dallas, TX, Houston, TX, and for a brief time Chicago, IL.
Following Joseph’s death in 1964, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation was created in honor of Joseph Shinoda. Bloomin’ News called him “one of the outstanding horticulturists in the United States honored and respected for his leadership and advancement of the floral trade.” The foundation was created to encourage young talent to pursue careers in floriculture. Since 1964, the Foundation has awarded scholarships for floriculture students valued at over $720,000. It has also given over $180,000 in 184 incentives and grants to 33 college and university floriculture and horticulture programs since 1986.
In July 1986 the grandson of Kumaichiro, James “Jimmy” Shinoda, along with his three sons and daughter, split off from the San Lorenzo Nursery Co. Shinoda Design Center was born on Ritchey Street in Santa Ana. In the 24 years since its inception, the store has grown significantly, requiring it be relocated 3 times – to Grand Avenue, South Village Way, and finally Dyer Road – to accommodate the growing product line.
In 1993 James Kusuda, the grandson of Jimmy Shinoda and great great grandson of Kumaichiro Shinoda, expanded operations into San Diego, CA. By opening the San Diego warehouse, James became the fifth generation of Shinodas involved in managing the family flower business. Already, the sixth generation can be seen manning cash registers or working on the floor stocking aisles and helping customers.
In 2009, the Shinoda Design Center Floral Design Scholarship was established. With the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship already in place encouraging floriculture students, the family saw a need to ensure the next generation of floral designers could obtain the training they needed.
So, the next time you enter a Shinoda Design Center warehouse, walk the aisles, and look at the displays, we hope you will feel the six generations of family that have worked together to create what you see there.