Shibata led San Jose, Calif.-based Mt. Eden Floral Company, formerly Mt. Eden Nursery, for more than 55 years. Founded in 1906, Mt Eden’s hallmark was its ability to adapt to change. The company evolved from growing seasonal flowers to carnations to hybrid tea roses prior to WWII.
Under Shibata’s leadership, the company’s many notable achievements include:
- Creating a co-op “rose pool” of ten rose growers in 1949, which made Mt. Eden the largest grower and marketer of roses in the U.S., and creating a similar co-op for mums
- Developing a chrysanthemum propagation and breeding company
- With the Civil Aeronautics Board, creating airfreight standards for flowers and also consolidating west-to-east coast trucking
- Building the first large-scale greenhouse in Salinas in 1963, with many of the Salinas Greenhouse partners later starting their own successful greenhouse businesses
- Developing a carnation breeding and propagation joint venture with Sumitomo Corp ($150 billion revenue) in 1989 to support the Salinas carnation growers
Mt. Eden was one of the first growers to use pre-cooled boxes for shipping, to open its own wholesale stores for vertical integration, to sell flowers to supermarkets and to fulfill orders for online floral retailers. The company was also a pioneer in purchasing imported flowers to supplement its own production and started a joint venture with the Visaflor group to import roses from Mexico for the Los Angeles Flower Market.
Today, Shibata’s fourth-generation company provides a full line of imported and domestic fresh flowers and floral supplies, as well as cut greens, plants, and bouquets.
Shibata has served as an officer or board member for a number of floral industry organizations, including the Wholesale Florist and Florist Suppliers Association, the Society of American Florists board member, Roses Inc., the California State Floral Assoc., American Floral Endowment, the California State Chamber of Commerce, the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Sumitomo Bank of California, to mention a few.
CalFlowers will host the 2015 Fun N Sun industry event in Monterey, Calif. In addition to the Distinguished Service Award, the event will include an all-California flower fair and educational sessions about business trends, new floral products and agricultural management for growers, shippers, service providers and wholesalers. To register or get information about sponsorship, go to http://www.cafgs.org/pg/fun-n-sun-2015.
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