Kazumi Uyeta was born in the logging town of Walville, Washington on October 21, 1930. He was the third youngest of four children, he being the only son. At the age of three months, his family decided to move back to Kochi, Japan where his family was originally from and remained throughout his childhood. It was during his high school years at the age of 16, his father past away and forcing him to drop out of school and begin working on the family farm in order to provide for his family.
As World War ll was ending, Japan’s economy was devastated, but Kazumi continued to hang on hoping for better times to come. At the age of 25 (1955) he realized that farming was difficult, weather could wipe out a crop at any time, and he was not very good at it. It was at this point, with a $100 in his wallet and the clothes on his back, Kazumi hopped aboard the M.S. Hikawa Maru (see photos below) and returned to Washington State. His first job was shucking oysters in South Bend. It was cold, too early, and his hands would freeze. He knew he had to find something else so about 6 months later he found a job with a landscaping company in Tacoma and quickly realized he truly enjoyed the work and the results of his efforts.
Saving money along the way, in 1960 Kazumi decided to start a family so he travelled back to Japan where he met his lovely wife Fuki. After a short courtship, they were married and returned to Seattle, Washington on the M.S. Hikawa Maru. In 1962 their first son Eddie was born.
Kazumi continued working as an employee for the next 7 years in the landscape industry at various companies in Tacoma and Seattle honing his skills, knowledge, and expertise. In a gutsy move in 1967, Kazumi started Uyeta Gardening Service in Seattle, Washington. Kazumi and Fuki both continued to work on the business making sure it survived and would provide for the family, now with son’s Wayne, 1965, Dana 1969 and daughter Irene in 1972. During this time, Kazumi also began enjoying growing Rhododendron’s. He grew so many (about 3000) that his small lot in town could not hold anymore. It was then in 1974 Kazumi purchased 5 acres in Renton, built a home and began a Nursery operation specializing in Rhody’s . As their success continued, Fuki took on bookkeeping responsibilities as well as maintaining the nursery grounds, potting, transplanting, fertilizing, and watering all the plants, and taking care of the home and family and one more daughter, Kathy born in 1976.
Kazumi and Fuki are both hardworking people with a passion for excellence. Their work ethic, perseverance, attention to detail, and their passion for providing clients with a professionally landscaped home have been the hallmark of their success. These values have provided their family with a comfortable lifestyle, college educations, and most importantly have passed on the integrity, professionalism, and work ethic that are the trademark of the company today.
At the age of nine his eldest son, Eddie began working alongside his father in the summers and on weekends. For a 9 year old, this was a major change and without even realizing it, Eddie began learning the business of landscaping. Kazumi’s English was somewhat limited and often-required interpretation, a job Eddie handled with maturity beyond his age, taking his responsibilities seriously.
Over time, Kazumi began to expand Eddie’s role in the business often working with the customer developing sales along the way. Throughout his teenage years, Eddie pulled weeds and got dirty, gained experience, and he too realized he had a passion for the work which eventually led him to a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington in 1988. Instead of continuing in the family business, Eddie joined an engineering firm in Bellevue WA. in the natural resources department to gain broader experience.
Also in 1988, Wayne the second eldest son, joined the family business and began running the day to day operations alongside Kazumi. In 1990, with the encouragement of Kazumi, Eddie left the engineering firm to team up with Wayne and officially start Uyeta Nursery Inc. DBA – Uyeta Landscape and Maintenance. As equal owners, Wayne and Eddie agreed to lease the nursery grounds thus providing Kazumi and Fuki the opportunity to retire. However, almost essentially retired, they both continue to help around the nursery and in the field for many more years.
Two years later in 1992, Dana the third eldest son, after graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Political Science decided to join the company. This created the leadership team that became the backbone of the company for the next 12 years. Through these years were successes and challenges that, with any family business would arise, however no matter what the situation they would eventually work out a solution and in Eddie’s words, “they always had each other’s back”.
As the business continued to expand, they found out that working out of the parent’s garage, as they had from the beginning was insufficient, so they turned a part of the greenhouse on the 5-acre property into their new offices. This lasted for some time but eventually in 2003, with their growing clientele, decided to build larger facilities on the same property to accommodate future growth and expansion of the company. It remains their headquarters today.
In 2004, Dana decided that a career in real estate held more excitement and independence. Wanting to support their brother Eddie and Wayne acquired Dana‘s share of the company. Dana’s expertise and commitment was difficult to replace. However, with some hard work they were able to continue on their successful path over the next couple of years.
Then in 2006, with great difficulty, Wayne made the decision to sell his interest in the company and pursue other interests while spending more time with his family. In support of his wishes, Eddie agreed to acquire the remaining shares of the company becoming the sole shareholder.
Since then, Eddie was able to bring in experienced landscape professionals with various specialties to take on the responsibilities previously held by family members. During peak season, Uyeta Landscape has 45 experienced landscape professionals operating 22 trucks serving over 500 clients in the greater Bellevue/Seattle area.
In 2010, the company decided to utilize their depth, knowledge and experience to expand into the commercial marketplace providing commercial property owners and managers with the same quality landscape and maintenance services their residential clients have entrusted to them for nearly 45 years.