Reimagining a Legacy - Little Tokyo Service Center

Reimagining a Legacy

For Yuka and Malina, becoming first-time business owners wasn’t easy.

In 2021, the pair took over Kuragami Florist in Little Tokyo from Masami and Mary Onoue, who ran the business since 1984. With assistance from LTSC small business counselor Mariko Lochridge, Kuragami Florist found new life with the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Yuka and Malina were determined to preserve the shop’s 39-year legacy while adapting to modern times. With a loyal client base and
a debt-free lease, they rebranded the shop as Little Tokyo Florist, proudly highlighting its location-based identity. However, as the pandemic set in, they faced a flurry of setbacks like supply chain issues, inflation, and reduced consumer spending. But, out of troubling times came innovative change. With Mariko’s guidance, they were able to generate new revenue streams by launching a joint merchandise venture with another local small business, CRFT by Maki. To their delight, this venture ignited their passion for community collaboration and placed it at the core of their refreshed business model.

“I want to carry on Kuragami Florist’s legacy, but we can’t be doing the same thing as 30 years ago. It’s fun for us to try something
new, especially something we couldn’t do by ourselves. Collaborating lets us help each other, and that’s what community really is. We’re teaching each other and keeping our Little Tokyo community going, together. That’s been a great experience through the collaborations that Mariko helped us launch in partnership with CRFT by Maki,” Yuka said.

As Little Tokyo Florist prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2024, LTSC is proud to have supported them every step of the way. Yuka shared, “From the ownership change to securing financing during the pandemic to cultivating collaborations among the Little Tokyo small business community, we’re grateful to LTSC and Mariko for helping us continue to do what we love.”

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