Meet the Team

Mt. Eden San Jose Wholesale Floral Supply Department

Alex Shibata joined Mt. Eden in the middle of 2011, and is the supply department manager. Part of his job includes scouring the markets on buying trips to source great containers, floral supplies, and seasonal decor for the store. In addition to knowing a lot about floral supplies, Alex is our go-to guy for any updates about the San Francisco Giants! Alex’s favorite flowers are the silk orchids in our supply department (they always look fresh!).

Esmeralda Ruiz works in the San Jose wholesale floral supply store. Though she can be spotted at the register from time to time, Esmeralda spends much of her day holding down the fort in the supply office, processing new arrivals and re-ordering popular items. Esmeralda is from Nayarit, a warm, coastal state in southwestern Mexico and counts spending time with her two children as one of her favorite things to do. Esmeralda has been working at Mt. Eden since 1999 and says Stargazer lilies are among her favorite flowers.

Nilda Pennington works in sales at the San Jose wholesale floral supply store. She moved to California in 1982 from South Bronx, New York, and began working at Mt. Eden in May of 1995. When she’s not working, Nilda volunteers with the elderly, and she puts her design skills to work by creating small floral arrangements for elderly ladies. She's a whiz at helping customers source items, and has a few design tricks and tips up her sleave, so don't be shy to ask her some quesitons! Nilda’s favorite flower is the calla lily.

Simon Vong estimates that he has been working at Mt. Eden since 2006. He works in the floral supply department at the San Jose store, where he is kept busy doing everything from stocking shelves and filling orders to cashiering and customer service. He jokes that he does everything “except run this place.” Currently living in Berkeley, Simon says he doesn’t have a favorite flower. But in his spare time, he enjoys fishing.


Mt. Eden San Jose Wholesale Flower & Plant Department

Jon Tamada is the manager of the fresh flower department at Mt. Eden Floral’s San Jose wholesale store. Some his job duties include: sales, buying, and managing the team. Peonies are his favorite flower. Born and raised in Los Altos, he has been working at Mt. Eden since 1995. Jon enjoys music, including playing his guitar and going to concerts — which range from Hawaiian to blues and everything in between. He has even competed in Scottish Highland games!

Bill Crawford has been with Mr. Eden since 1995 and works in the fresh flower department at Mt. Eden’s San Jose location. Although he mainly works in sales, Bill also does some buying and is in charge of the front desk. Currently, he lives in the South Bay, but will always tell you that San Francisco is his hometown. Bill loves sports, including but not limited to: baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and football (American, English, and Australian). Bill says roses would probably be his favorite flower.

Claudio Torres works in sales in the fresh flower department at the San Jose wholesale store. Like Jesse, Claudio is originally from Zacatecas, Mexico. He has been working at Mt. Eden since the early 2000’s and says roses are probably his favorite flowers. Claudio enjoys fishing in his downtime.

Herb Tamada works at Mt. Eden caring for the plants in the San Jose fresh flower department. He’s often seen watering different plants and working for their general upkeep. Born in San Jose, CA, Herb and his family moved back to Japan when he was three years old. Herb returned to America in 1953 when he was 24, and he began working at Mt. Eden in 1998. He enjoys practicing shigin (詩吟), the traditional Japanese art of singing poetry. Out of all the flowers he tends, Herb enjoys orchids the most.

Jesse Ruiz still remembers his first day at Mt. Eden at 8:30 a.m. on November 5, 1986, cleaning roses for bouquets. He now works as a salesperson in the fresh flower department at the San Jose location, but does a little bit of everything, including offshore buying and directing drivers. Jesse’s co-workers describe him as their “fresh flower specialist.” In his down time, Jesse watches TV and spends time with his wife and two kids. He is from a small village from Zacatecas, Mexico, and says orchids would probably be his favorite flower, if he had one.

Lori Librero joined Mt. Eden Floral in February 2014, bringing with her an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in the floral industry. She got her start in the floral industry working part-time at a nursery. In 1989, she began working full-time in the wholesale flower division and hasn’t looked back since! Lori was born in Merced, CA, and currently lives in Union City. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two granddaughters, and also loves to sew and quilt. Lori’s favorite flower is fresia.

Pastor Ruiz works in sales as part of the fresh flower team at the San Jose wholesale store. He has been working at Mt. Eden since 1988. After working for ten years, Pastor says that he took a break before coming back (and we’re glad to have him back!). Pastor currently lives in Oakland and says his favorite flower is the Stargazer lily.

Ruth Alvarez joined Mt. Eden in 2007 and works in the San Jose fresh flower department. She works in sales during the week and as the cashier on Saturdays. Ruth, originally from Honduras, lives in San Jose with her husband, daughter, and dog named Jasper. She enjoys shopping in her spare time, and she met her husband Rudy, who works at a flower shop, while working at Mt. Eden in 2009! Ruth likes potted orchids.


Mt. Eden at the San Francisco Flower Market

Henry Kakinami is the manager of the San Francisco store. He has been working at Mt. Eden since 1968! Born in San Francisco, Henry currently resides in San Jose with his family. While Henry says every flower is his favorite, he says he likes peonies. Henry enjoys bowling in his spare time and golfs when he can, which can be hard because he says he enjoys working and can sometimes be a workaholic!

Adeodato Ortiz Calderon works in sales at the San Francisco store. Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, Adeodato says he has been working at Mt. Eden since May 25, 1985. He originally came to Mt. Eden because that’s where his brother worked. Adeodato says he doesn’t have a favorite flower, but he enjoys visiting the old Mt. Eden nursery in Hayward because it is quiet on the weekends.

Jesus Franco has been working in the floral industry since 2002, and has been a part of the Mt. Eden team since 2005. Originally from Venezuela, he says that there are many things he enjoys about living in the Bay Area including the Bay’s culturally diverse communities. In his free time, Jesus takes advantage of the Bay Area’s great weather to enjoy some of his favorite hobbies such as mountain biking and hiking.

Rich Rodesta works in sales at the store in San Francisco, the city where he was born and raised. He has been with Mt. Eden since 1974 and jokingly says trees are his favorite flower (actually, he enjoys carnations because he says they last a long time). Rich, who describes himself as easy going, likes to go duck hunting in his spare time.