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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Christina O’Connor

Celeste Nakamoto Farinas and June Nakamoto

A few years ago, a man gave a rose to a stranger – an older woman he happened to pass on the street – after getting a dozen roses from Beretania Florist. The woman began to cry. When he asked her what was wrong, she explained that she wasn’t sad – it was just that nobody had ever given her a rose before, and the small gesture meant a lot to her.

June Nakamoto, the longtime owner of Beretania Florist before handing it over to daughter Celeste Nakamoto Farinas last year, explains that this incident happened on one of the shop’s annual Florists’ Transworld Delivery Good Neighbor Day events. This is one anecdote that has stuck with her, but Nakamoto says that these types of stories are common on Good Neighbor Day, when Beretania Florist joins other flower shops around the nation and in Canada to hand out a dozen roses for free to anybody who visits the shop.

This year, Beretania Florist will be giving out 7,500 roses – in honor of the shop’s 75th year – in dozens, starting at 7 a.m. Sept. 11. The shop will continue to hand out roses as long as supplies last, which is usually not past 9 a.m.

Beretania Florist loves to be able to give back to the community. But it also encourages others to get in the giving spirit.

“You are supposed to keep one (rose) for yourself and give the 11 away to other people,” Nakamoto Farinas says. “So you make new friends, or you just give it to any random stranger.”

This year, Beretania Florist also is collecting canned good donations for Hawaii Foodbank. Last year, the company collected more than 300 pounds of food and $300 for Hawaii Foodbank, figures it hopes to surpass this year.

“We know that (hunger) is a big problem,” Nakamoto Farinas says. “You hear so many stories about people going hungry.”

“It is hard to imagine that people here are suffering and not having enough food to eat,” Nakamoto adds.

In addition to this event, Beretania Florist also has donated cash, flowers or gift certificates to groups that include American Heart Association and Hawaii Youth Symphony.

The folks at Beretania Florist look forward to Good Neighbor Day each year – it makes them feel good to be able to bring smiles to people’s faces.

“There is no gimmick, it is just to share something that day with someone,” Nakamoto says. “My favorite part is when you give (the roses) to someone and their face just lights up. We are helping hundreds of people get a flower in one day. That is what makes you feel good – whenever you give something and people are so happy about it, it just comes back to you and you feel good. So we are really happy that day. It is a win-win.”

Beretania Florist is located at 1293 S. Beretania St. For more information, call 591-2288 or visit beretaniaflorist.com.

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