The Power Of Love
It’s 11 years and counting for power couple Kelvin Bloom and Shelley Wilson, whose stylish Honolulu nest is filled with pets to dote on, company to entertain, and enough flowers and mutual respect between these lovebirds to keep their romance in bloom.
In the never-ending search to see if the axioms of love and compatibility apply in real life as they do in fairy tales, MidWeek petitioned Cupid to find a super couple to spotlight for Valentine’s Day. What we wanted to know was what makes a relationship personally and professionally ideal?
Well, the god of love’s arrow did not disappoint, landing in Makiki at the grand penthouse apartment of Mr. and Mrs. Kelvin Bloom. Perfect aim, Cupid. This truly is a power couple.
She is Shelley Wilson — age 43, and the founder, president and CEO of Wilson Care Group, O‘ahu’s largest private-duty home health care agency. He is Kelvin Bloom — age 58, and the president of Aqua-Aston Holdings Inc., one of Hawai‘i’s largest hotel and resort management companies.
Together, they are Shelvin — like Bennifer and Brangelina — a moniker designating a pair so closely aligned that they seem like one.
Wilson and Bloom have been married for 11 years and have very successful careers layered with involvement in many community organizations that puts them in an influential sphere.
Wilson is a leading advocate for health care, and Bloom is a dynamo in tourism development. Yet they are modest and shy about a “power couple” label. As they share their love and life story, it illuminates the axiom that together, a power couple can be the ultimate individual.
In other words, one’s partner need not necessarily complete you. That’s your role. But he or she should complement you. Viva la difference.
Here then is the Shelvin saga with romantic inspiration for putting power into relationships.
Once Upon A Time
Power couples are said to have a fairy tale romance. Any love story begins with how a couple meets.
Wilson recalls, “We were set up on a blind date by friends, but it took a long time to coordinate a meeting. We are both super career driven and work a lot. Finally after months, it’s a go, and 10 friends show up on the first date.”
“There were no fireworks at first,” she admits. “We said goodbye in the parking lot, where he asked which car was mine. I got points for having a Mercedes.”
Wilson and Bloom are car enthusiasts, and that common interest drew them closer. They also love animals — she was raised on a farm in Iowa — and today they dote on pet Maltese dogs Lola and Bentley and a cat named Powder.
“Kelvin invited me on a second date for just the two of us at the Hanohano Room at Sheraton Waikīkī,” Wilson continues. “He ordered a strong alcoholic drink, and I thought, ‘Uh oh.’ Later, I realized he was nursing a cold and the whisky was cough suppressant.”
Cupid couldn’t have staged it better for Wilson, a former Army medic who is instinctively caring and solicitous of sick persons.
“I took full advantage of the situation,” Bloom laughs.
“Shelley impressed me from the start,” he reflects. “She has a kind heart, is very loving, and has natural business savvy. She was the one for me.”
Seven months after they met, they were married.
“It was shorter than the time it took to have our first date,” Bloom points out.
Love: A Connective Force
The proposal was anything but traditional.
Bloom, a triathlete, was nearing the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon in 2006 and kept yelling something out to Wilson, who was on the sidelines cheering him on. She noticed other runners reacting with excitement, but dismissed it as race euphoria.
“I was his roadie,” Wilson says, “and all I could think of was our need to rush back to the hotel to catch a flight to Honolulu.”
“On board the flight, attendants brought us champagne, and in my glass was a ring,” she says. “We were stuck in the air, and I couldn’t share the news with anyone. It was the longest flight back to Honolulu.”
Bloom told his fiancé, “I know it was stressful today, but you know I asked you to marry me three or four times, and everyone else but you heard.”
Wilson anticipated a long engagement and even called Bloom’s bluff about marrying by suggesting, “If you get everything ready, just tell me when and where to be.”
“You know what, he did!” she exclaims, recalling how she showed up at the Halekulani on Christmas Eve 2006, when the couple was married in a suite where Bloom had arranged everything, including wedding attire, leis, minister and photographer.
“It was magical,” Wilson gushes. “We ordered room service and had a bottle of Cristal, hamburgers and french fries.”
That was 11 years ago. Today, the couple is settled in a penthouse condo where art and sculptures adorn a stylish residence. Leroy Neiman, Marc Chagal, Erte, Japanese ukiyo-e and classic movie posters reflect their eclectic taste.
“We enjoy entertaining,” says Bloom, who hosts Super Bowl, Indy 500 and movie night parties in a fully equipped home theater.
Hostess Wilson is as adept in a gourmet kitchen as she is in a corporate office.
“She’s into preparing and cooking, and I’m into eating.” Bloom says. “I’m very fortunate to have a multitalented spouse.”
How do they coordinate their busy business and social commitments?
“We’re realistic about our schedules,” Wilson replies. “We do some things together and some things independently or solo.”
Bloom adds, “We do one major car event a year, such as auto week at the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance.”
“We are motor heads,” claims Wilson, who tinkered with cars at a young age, learning mechanic skills from her grandfather. Bloom was a motorcross race champion in Japan, where he lived as a teen with his itinerant family.
“It broadened my perspective beyond the American way of life,” Bloom says.
It underscores another aspect of power couples. Neither one depends on the other for self worth. Power couples share big passions and goals.
As Bloom says admirably of his mate, “Shelley is a true entrepreneur. She founded her business, bootstrapped the business, funded it with her own cash and credit cards, and made everything work to be the successful company that it is today.”
At age 21, she started Wilson Homecare with four employees that have grown to 900. The award-winning company also operates Wilson Senior Living in Kailua, an adult care home for 22 residents.
The need for at-home post-surgical and illness recovery services originated with Wilson’s own debilitating trauma from an auto accident.
“We provide one-stop care for people and help families know their options when loved ones are impaired or require help with the activities of daily living,” Wilson explains.
It’s hospitality of a different sort for Bloom, president of Aqua-Aston Holdings with domestic and international resort development and management for Aqua-Aston Hospitality LLC and Maui Condo & Home LLC.
Prior to joining Aston in 1998, Bloom served as Castle Resorts & Hotels’ founding president and chief operating officer of The Castle Group. His experience encompasses managing mid-scale to affluent mountain ski properties and Hawai‘i beachfront resorts. His reputation for exceptional operations, record profitability and exemplary owner relations are well known in the tourism industry.
“Having two alpha personalities and two presidents in the home presents interesting discussions,” Wilson says.
No doubt the pair has engaging exchanges at their “Talk Thursday” sessions when they make time to communicate and “put the craziness of the day aside.”
Keep It Simple
“Simple things are important,” Wilson asserts. “In any relationship, love evolves. You’re never the same as the time that you met. You just love in a different way. The connection and companionship you share are more precious over time.”
“I think one of the great things about our relationship is that we’re very different people in many ways and our approach on business is very different. But we respect each other’s opinions, thoughts and ideas,” Bloom adds.
“Years ago I came up with a way to diffuse situations,” Wilson offers. “We had a disagreement and Kelvin wasn’t budging. He retreated to his office. I gave him a breather, then walked in and said, ‘You know what? I’ve thought about it and I decided to forgive you.'”
“I’ve learned to apologize early and often,” he laughs.
So what is our hero Bloom planning for his sweetheart on Valentine’s Day? He didn’t want to “let the cat out of the bag,” but we suspect it is spectacular. Wilson’s thinking of writing a letter to her husband to express how truly special he is.