Community Rallies Behind Kuwahara Wholesale At Sandy City Council Meeting

Feb 18, 2020, 11:26 PM

SANDY, Utah – Flanked by dozens of customers, coworkers and supporters from the community, embattled Kuwahara Wholesale made its case for survival before the Sandy City Council after it was ordered to cease operations or face potential legal and civil consequences.

“This is my family’s livelihood,” Alex Kuwahara, owner of Kuwahara Wholesale, told the council Tuesday night. “All I want to do is grow and sell plants and support local farmers by selling local produce.”

Kuwahara’s business, located at 8565 South State Street, has been hoping to open this spring.

However, he admitted during an interview earlier Tuesday that he didn’t know what the future would hold.

“They won’t let me open until the site plan is done, and I’ve turned the site plan in so many times and we turned it in again last September and we thought it was all done again and we pushed so hard,” Kuwahara said. “We maxed out all our credit cards, we used all of our line of credits and did everything to get this done for the city because they told us that’s what they needed and we get it done and they send it back again.”

In October, the letter arrived that said the city intended to pursue “criminal, civil and/or administrative enforcement pursuant to the Sandy City Municipal Code” if the nursery did not discontinue all business. City officials cited numerous fire code, structural and infrastructure violations.

Kuwahara claimed the costs to bring the business up to commercial code stand at over $1 million.

At Tuesday’s meeting, city officials told the council they began working with Kuwahara in 2013 and — while he had on multiple occasions expressed a desire to comply with the code — several requirements had still not been met.

Members of a crowded Sandy City Council meeting spoke on behalf of Kuwahara Wholesale.

Dozens of attendees from an overflow crowd, however, spoke on behalf of Kuwahara and his business, saying Kuwahara was a “good, honest man” and that his service was something “you just don’t get at the big box stores.”

“It’s so sad that their problem is a code,” one woman said.

Kuwahara, who was teary-eyed at the showing of public support, said he maintained hope his business would be allowed to continue to operate.

“I’ve spent and spent and spent and now, if I can’t open, there’s no chance to pay back that debt,” said Kuwahara, who noted in that case that selling the family’s property was a possibility.

The council heard public comment and feedback from city officials until after 10:00 p.m. Tuesday.

A decision from the city was expected at a later date.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Andrew Adams

Family members remember Utah woman killed in Idaho crash

Family members on Tuesday were remembering a Utah woman killed in a weekend crash that also left her father critically injured. 
24 hours ago
Utah Rep. Burgess Owens. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)...

All 4 Utah House incumbents win GOP primaries

All four members of the U.S. House from Utah defeated Republican primary challengers Tuesday.
24 hours ago
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) leaves the U.S. Capitol on April 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Senate r...

Sen. Mike Lee fends off 2 opponents to win Utah GOP primary

Sen. Mike Lee has won Utah’s Republican primary by fending off attacks from two challengers who didn’t vote for former President Donald Trump in 2020.
24 hours ago
The suspect of a bank robbery at Brighton Bank in South Salt Lake. (Credit: South Salt Lake Police)...
Michael Houck

South Salt Lake police search for bank robbery suspect

South Salt Lake police are searching for a suspect involved in a bank robbery that happened Tuesday,
24 hours ago
Michael Carpenter (left) and Blake Shumway (right) were killed in a plane crash Friday morning in C...
Alex Cabrero

Family members remember, honor two USU plane crash victims

Family members of Michael Carpenter and Blake Shumway — who were killed in a plane crash Friday morning in Cache County — say they never thought a week ago that they would be planning funerals.
24 hours ago
(Brigham City Fire Department)...
Madison Swenson

Two extricated, taken to the hospital after head-on crash in Brigham City

Two people were extricated from their vehicles Tuesday following a head-on collision in Brigham City.
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Community Rallies Behind Kuwahara Wholesale At Sandy City Council Meeting