Since 2013, Piedmont’s Lee Chin has co-owned the Oakland Flower Market. It’s on Jefferson Street in downtown Oakland, and it’s open to everyone.
You co-own the Oakland Flower Market with your two younger brothers. How did you get involved in this business?
Lee: Well, it started with me working here in 1997 for my Uncle and his family. When my brother joined me in the States, we decided to buy it from them.
So how is it working with your brothers?
Lee: It’s great. I mean, there’s ups and downs, like with anyone else. But I love it.
Agriculture is a big part of your background. How do you know so much about flowers?
Lee: I basically grew up on the farm with animals and cut orchids. My family are big orchid growers in Singapore.
Where do you get your flowers?
Lee: Southern California, and also the majority comes from South America.
Unfortunately, I wish more California, but there are just a lot less farms now.
Do you have any tips for consumers on how to buy flowers and keep them fresh and lasting the longest?
Lee: Always ask the staff what’s fresh. The basic thing is to keep them hydrated, keep them well ventilated and not overcrowded.
What’s the best day or time to come here?
Lee: The best day, I would say, is Thursday when most of the flowers are situated. You can also preorder if you have an event coming up.
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