By Léo Azambuja

Dan ‘Kala’ Oshiro, flower arrangement designer at Sonflower Florist & Gifts, and his mother, Daunene “Dino” Oshiro, owner of Sonflower Florist & Gifts.

There’s a little flower shop in Old Kapa‘a Town that has blossomed to become a point of reference for weddings, hula halau presentations, May Day celebrations, special events, funerals, graduation ceremonies, and of course, Valentine’s Day arrangements.

“We do all types of floral arrangements, anything and everything,” said Daunene “Dino” Oshiro, owner of Sonflower Florist & Gifts.

Dino said they specialize in leis for different occasions. Their most popular lei is the single orchid lei. But they also make leis with hala, maile, ti leaf, ginger, mokihana and even peacock feathers.

“My favorite lei is the ginger, which is my dad’s favorite,” she said. “We’ll also make the old-fashioned feathered ginger lei.”

And then there are the stunning haku leis, made to wear on the head like a crown of flowers.

For those who want something that will last a lot longer, they can order an artificial flower arrangement. Some of the artificial flowers look and feel so real that it’s common for customers to smell them to make sure they are artificial.

Dino opened the flower shop seven years ago, because of her son, Dan “Kala” Oshiro. Flowers have always been “his passion and his heart,” she said. Kala is not just the reason for the business to exist, he is also the person behind the flower designs. At one point he’ll take over the business.

Sonflower Florist & Gifts was originally opened as Kala’s Creations. About two years ago, Dino sought spiritual guidance from God, and was shown seven different types of sunflowers. She was a little reluctant at first because sunflowers were not her favorite type of flowers, so she asked advice from a friend, who told her to look up sunflowers under the Christian perspective.

Dino said she was unaware that sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun, and their roots are deep and strong to be able to hold such a large flower. She read Christians need to keep their eyes on Jesus and their feet planted in the word of God.

“I had been going through a struggle at that time with the shop, so that’s how Sonflower came about. I said, ‘OK, Lord, I just need to keep my eyes on you that things will turn around,’” said Dino, explaining she added a twist to sunflower’s spelling because of her son. The change has been good, and the business keeps blossoming.

She said all the workers are family oriented, which makes it easy to get along and have a fun work environment. No one goes home before finishing a job, she said, showing their dedication to the community and businesses supporting Sonflower.

But the shop is not just about flowers. When Dino first opened the store, school kids would stop by and ask for snacks and drinks.

“They would come in and say, ‘Aunty you need to carry some snacks so I can tell my friends to come down,’” she said. The kids would even tell her what exactly they wanted, and she listened to them. Now they usually come to hang out after school to eat and drink, and one of the kids even likes to sing for them.

“That’s nice, because we have love for the kids too,” Dino said.

Last Christmas, they were quite busy with Christmas arrangements. But their busiest months of the year are usually June, May and February. So if you are thinking of getting flowers for your better half for Valentine’s Day, you might want to order them early.

Find Sonflower Florist & Gifts at 4597 Olohena Rd., across Kapa‘a New Town Park. Visit www.sonflowerfloristandgifts.com or call (808) 821-1838 for more information.