Who are the people in your EZ neighborhood?
By Jeanette Vale
Today in the mail I got a 2024 Paul Gauguin Cruise Magazine. How can I concentrate at work with such beautiful images in front of me? The Gauguin vessel boasts beautiful rooms and fine dining. Green mountains pierce the blue sky in the background.
It's a cold January. I have cabin fever. It's hard to write about disasters when I want to be in Tahiti. Who’s with me?
I was born in the islands and raised in Hawaii and Samoa. I miss home. Outside of our Emergency Zone office is snow as far as the eye can see. Skiing is not my gig, so winters in Utah are lost on me. We have sublime national parks (Zions, Bryce, Arches, Capitol Reef). Come summer, I plan to take my newly acquired camping trailer to see them.
Did you read of this purchasing adventure? If you need a chuckle click here. Just scroll to the end of 25 tips to buying a used camping trailer.
Since many of us are snowbound and back at work, how about I introduce you to my colleagues?
In this blog, I spotlight Kento Fukuyasu. He is one of the two owners of Emergency Zone. I don’t have his permission to do this, we'll see how far I can get in publishing this.
Kento’s father is Japanese and his mother is Nebraskan. That's a real thing. It probably means anglo-woman from Nebraska who fell in love and moved far away.
Kento spent his childhood in Japan. His parents own a mushroom factory there. They grow Enoki mushrooms in hundreds of jars. It is quite an amazing process. Every four weeks a mushroom crop is ready for harvesting. That sounds simple, but it’s not. Running a business is not simple. I know, I've started dozens of them and usually in the same month.
Kento is a fifth generation business owner. It’s in his blood. His grandma owns a store in Japan that the locals shop at. She is getting up there in age and must give it up. This will be hard as she has run this store for sixty years! I would love to go and buy something from her and say hello.
Kento wears a lot of hats here. He works six days a week. On Saturdays he and his wife bring their four children to clean the office and warehouse. This past Christmas we created a scavenger hunt of gifts for the kids. That was fun. They are learning a great work ethic from their parents.
There are two receptionists who sit in the lobby. I am one of them. When Kento has a moment, he comes down and the three of us have a gab session. We work through problems, or just talk about life. We feel heard and valued.
When I see Kento and the endless details it takes to keep this operation running, I realize that a person has to be tougher than nails on a consistent basis, year in and year out.
It's hard to start and run businesses past the five year mark. We are now at year fifteen.
On top of that, the nature of our product is difficult to sell! No one wants to think about disasters. We tend to have a sunny disposition that 'it will never happen to me'.
Most of us would rather spend our money on fun things like hobbies. It's hard to allocate funds to an emergency kit we may never use.
None of this phases him. He pushes forward.
You may recognize Kento’s face. Here is one of my favorite products we sell. SKU 1203 The Heatstore Sleeping Bag. No, that is not a teenager. That is Kento modeling the product. Here is a blog on how this bag saves your life. It is vital to know this information because there are ways it works best.
Kento is humble and hard working. He puts people before money and things. He see’s the company as a vehicle to help his fellows get to where they need to go.
He just left the lobby as I was typing this; extolling the virtues of trusting the employees. He admires how Chicago Bull's coach Phil Jackson did this with his players. Kento does not see the value in a military dictatorship when working with people or building teams. When employees feel free, they do their best work. Amen, huzzah! We concur!
Because of this mentality, I have noticed myself and others feeling an ownership of our success. We work out the kinks and problem solve along with the owners.
Did you notice that despite inflation this past year our prices did not skyrocket? That’s Kento's doing. The customers matter. Surviving hardship matters.
Could we be more cut-throat and cutting edge? Yes, but then I would be miserable coming to work in such an environment. I'm a creative writing prepper. That would kill my mojo.
Next week, let's meet more of the team!
Happy New Year!
Come on over and visit our website. If you’re ever in Utah come in and say hi! We’d love to meet you.