ALOHA! I’m David W. Fukumoto, president and founder of Fuku-Bonsai Inc. and “GoFundMe Campaign Organizer” for “SAVE-FUKUBONSAI.” With a heavy heart, I report that on the night of August 24, 2018, Hurricane Lane dropped a record 52” of rain that produced a flash-flood and caused extensive damage. Then COVID-19 shut-down Hawaii (and all accounts except one).
FEBRUARY 2021 UPDATE: Mahalo! With the help of donations, we've made progress. But with a new president, we are much more optimistic and have begun efforts to complete our recovery from Benlate and Hurricane Lane major disasters, will begin expansion, increase production, rebuild management and staff, and rebuild into an exciting future to dominate TRUE INDOOR BONSAI(tm) and HAWAIIANITE(tm) on a national basis!
We are making progress on rebuilding our website that had a MAJOR crash in 2014 and we are just now starting to be able to edit it. We hope to issue the free monthly FBnews email newsletters in Spring and invite all to sign up to receive copies. We are also upgrading and modifying our product lines (and pricing) to include a host of new unique, easy-care high-success True Indoor Bonsai! But we have gotten the support of the College of Agriculuture, Forestry, & Natural Resource Management of the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH-CAFNRM) and upon refinancing and raising working capital to begin importing Hawaiianite(tm), they will begin field trials; initially with tropical crops.
Fuku-Bonsai is an "innovation driven enterprise." We pioneered TRUE INDOOR BONSAI since 1962, participated in developing the Hawaii State certified nursery program and when California approved it in 1973, the Fukumoto family moved to the Big Island of Hawaii to start the first such nursery. From the start we developed premium, value-added branded products and direct niche-marketed them by mail order or through a limited number of Fuku-Bonsai Authorized Retailers and rapidly scaled up and shipped to all parts of the US. In 1985 we incorporated to become the catalyst to build a Fuku-Bonsai Center in the developing Kona-Kohala visitor destination and attracted over 200 mostly modes Big Island stockholders. But in 1989, defective DuPont Benlate contaminated with weed killers was sprayed at the nursery and eventually caused of $30 million of losses not including the cost to develop all new crops, reinvent the company, and recover. The total net proceeds of the 1994 Benlate product liability and the 2007 DuPont fraud settlements was less than 10% of our losses. Life is not fair and DuPont escaped paying for the damage they caused. But although Fuku-Bonsai was amongst the most impacted, we survived while many of the original Benlate plaintiffs are no longer in business.
It took us until August 2018 to get close to recovery and we began this GoFundMe effort to raise $100,000 of working capital to complete recovery and start expansion. Three weeks later we suffered a major Hurricane Lane loss. Although damage was extensive, 18-months later we were again moving toward recovery! Then like distant thunder that grew, the Convid-19 pandemic hit! We got more help and are now making steady progress toward refinancing the company. We are committed to building TRUE INDOOR BONSAI™ and HAWAIIANITE™ communities. Both specialties are unique. True Indoor Bonsai is a totally different form of bonsai and increasingly it is being recognized as the most successful popular form of bonsai for anyone, anywhere who can grow houseplants. HAWAIIANITE is also unique and the first safe, non-burning, citrate-soluble, high-phosphorous, on-demand universal fertilizer for everyone.
WE ARE REQUESTING AN ANNUAL GOFUNDME DONATION OF $10 IF YOU LIKE AND SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS! This makes sense for many reasons. Fuku-Bonsai went online in 1999, is one of the oldest and most respected bonsai websites, and has a greater volume of True Indoor Bonsai editorial material than all others combined! We've led the battle against the fraudulent use of the term: "INDOOR BONSAI." If you look up the horticultural characteristics of the plants offered under that category, you'll quickly find that most of the bonsai offered for sale are outdoor plants. Some may be temperate climate plants that need a winter dormancy for long-term health. Others require more light that in available in ordinary homes and offices. Outdoor bonsai don't miraculously become houseplants because you label them "indoor bonsai." In contrast, Fuku-Bonsai only grows the most durable houseplants that have a bonsai-like appeal. We supply those who want high success, an easier and more casual form of bonsai, and bonsai that can be given as gifts and handed down through the generations. We began shipping since 1973 and it is common to receive emails from those who have had our plants for 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years! We start training very young so there's a lot of character way down on the trunk-root buttressing. Without this, at worse, the best you can do would be like training a bonsai interpretation of a telephone pole! Don't settle for that!
Fuku-Bonsai may be the only bonsai resource who is a certified nursery shipping to all parts of the United States the plants that we write about and teach! Every plant variety has a different cultural requirement depending upon the specific environment of the grower. Our Dwarf Schefflera is the primary exception as they will grow year around in most environments. I'm told that in Alaska and northern regions, interior heating kicks in when temperatures drop to 65 degrees F. In Arizona or southern regions, air conditioning kicks in about 72 degrees F. So year around temperatures are close to Hawaii for growing indoors year-around. Of course you may need to make adjustments. In Alaska you may need some supplemental light in their long dark winters. If the plants are in offices or buildings that are in cold regions that are not heated on weekends, our plants may suffer. But they can grow outdoors whenever night temperatures are above 55 degrees F. One day, Dwarf Schefflera will be the most popular bonsai. They are easy to grow, grow fast, can be trained into more styles than any other plant grown as gifts. They are easy to propagate and train and make great gifts even if the recipient doesn't have bonsai skills!
COMPLETING RECOVERY AND ENTERING A NEW ERA
As a corporation with a working bonsai nursery, Fuku-Bonsai is the primary host and underwrites all costs of the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center in Kurtistown. Admission is free and visitors enjoy talking with our staff and learn our True Indoor Bonsai techniques and principles. The center, website and FBnews are co-sponsored by the 501(3)(c) Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation whose volunteers assist with the collections, grounds, and provide workshop assistance.
FBnews is being developed to create a unique international community to be knowledgeable in our TRUE INDOOR BONSAI™ and HAWAIIANITE™ specialties. But rather than create a formal organization with membership dues, admission to the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center, the www.fukubonsail.com and FBnews informational resources will continue to be free. But on an honor system basis, we request a GoFundMe annual $10 donation by those benefit and support our efforts. The donations are requested to defray the costs as we build staff to generate specialty editorial information and assist future generations.
Increasingly we are getting Constant Contact sign-ups from international readers. Although we are not now able to ship internationally, we are providing email assistance as growing Dwarf Schefflera with our techniques will make Dwarf Schefflera the most popular bonsai plant in the world. We hope that our True Indoor Bonsai becomes a bonsai bridge to international friendship and peace! Larger GoFundMe U.S. donors can request a tax deductible receipt by sending an email with their mailing address to [email redacted] or such donations can be made by check mailed directly to Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation who are increasingly taking on more responsibility in the “post-Fukumoto succession” plans.
Fate has decried that Fuku-Bonsai whose have a unique “interesting” historical bonsai role. Begun as a family hobby in 1962, newlyweds David and Myrtle Fukumoto began when bonsai was largely a secretive cult. They supported early Hawaii bonsai education and organizational efforts and played a major role as Hawaii became a leader in creating International Bonsai for everyone. They led the development of “TRUE INDOOR BONSAI™” which is a major break-away from the impossibly difficult traditional temperate climate outdoor bonsai. True Indoor Bonsai now is the leader and the most successful gift bonsai for anyone, anywhere who can grow houseplants.
As we refinance, complete recovery, expand production, and rebuild management, staff, and facilities, we are also networking with others on the Big Island to change our economy to be less dependent upon tourism, to help create more profitable agricultural businesses and to encourage better paying agricultural careers, including a hybrid employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). We are starting to connect to impact investors and other businesses who want to move the Big Island into an export economy as the Hilo-Puna East Hawaii region has the lowest land costs and is the fastest growing part of Hawaii State! We need to create a better economy and future. We invite those interested in partnering with us and others to contact me to be part of the leadership to create this win-win-win opportunity!
As the only certified export nursery that ships to all parts of the United States, we promote primarily Dwarf Schefflera and besides being the leading informational resource, we assist and supply professionally grown high-potential bonsai that we supply, teach, and assist. As a fully vertically integrated specialist, we are setting the highest standards and invite everyone to join our efforts and become a part of our future. HAWAIIANITE™ compliments our bonsai but also has an exciting stand-alone international future! Having survived two major disasters, we are recovering, refinancing, and invite you to join us. For more information, please contact David W. Fukumoto, president & founder, Fuku- Bonsai Inc. & GoFundMe Campaign Organizer at [email redacted] MAHALO AND ALOHA!
- Ryan Chang
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