Area florists are preparing for yet another Valentine’s Day. The holiday is the single busiest day for florists nationwide as sweethearts order floral arrangements, bouquets and other treats for their lover.
For the florist, the holiday is a whirlwind of activity. Jacklyn Pierce, owner of Rebecca’s Flowers, has seen busy Valentine’s Days for a number of years but said this year takes the cake.
“We are busier,” she said. “We have seen a good increase from the last several years.”
Pierce estimated that they have already seen about 30 percent more orders this year over last year.
Similarly, Marlow’s Nita’s Flowers and Gifts Owner Helen Thomas said her store has seen about 20 percent more orders this year over last year.
As a first this year, Thomas ordered what she called rainbow roses, roses where each petal is a different color. The petals are turquoise, hot pink, yellow and lavender.
“We special ordered rainbow roses,” Thomas said. “They came in about six weeks ago. We have sold all we bought.”
Thomas said in addition to the traditional red roses, other colored roses are increasingly popular this year.
Pierce said at Rebecca’s Flowers, she said that while she still has regulars coming in for the traditional order of a dozen roses, she has seen an increase of orders arrangements combined with other flowers.
“I am seeing a lot of men looking for lilies and other flowers,” she said. “They are looking for roses with other flowers.”
Pierce said she also has seen an increase in other gifts such as balloons and chocolates.
To make it through the busy holiday, both shops have increased their staff. Thomas has volunteers that have worked with her for many years of holidays.
Pierce relies on help from family and friends to prepare the arrangements. Former owner Rebecca Reed also took time off from her current job to help the store make it through the holiday.
Pierce said she had to increase her staff early because of the additional rush this year. She has been taking orders since Feb. 1 but this week has been especially hectic.
“On Monday, we just had our normal staff,” she said. “We could not get anything done because the phone was ringing so much.”
She called in the extra help on Tuesday to take care of phone orders and customers so she and other staff members could begin preparing orders.
Pierce also relies on help from others to make deliveries on the holiday. She said she is increasing her delivery staff from her usual one delivery driver to eight drivers that will be traveling the city in pairs.
With the drastic rise in gas prices recently, these stores are not yet allowing it to affect their delivery rates.
“I did not increase the delivery fee so the people could afford to buy roses,” Pierce said.
Pierce, however, will not be delivering to rural routes outside of Duncan on Thursday. Those orders must either be picked up or delivered on Wednesday.
Although Pierce has decided not to increase delivery fees, the price of flowers has gone up recently because most of her roses come from Columbia or Ecuador. Those suppliers have increased their fuel prices.
Thomas is keeping her standard delivery fees and is calculating the fee according to distance.
In the days preceding Valentine’s Day, the staff experiences little sleep as they work to make sure each bouquet is perfect.
“We do the non-perishable items early,” Thomas said. “The last three days we work late at the shop preparing orders.”
“We work 72 hours straight in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day,” Pierce said. “It gets pretty intense.”
The staff of Rebecca’s Flowers does whatever they can ahead of time including preparing arrangements and keeping them fresh in the cooler until it is time to deliver them.
Rebecca’s Flowers will continue taking orders even on Valentine’s Day or when it starts looking like they will be running out of flowers.
“Whenever we get close to running out, we will be shutting down the phones,” Pierce said.
At Nita’s Flowers and Gifts, Thomas did not anticipate having to turn away orders on Thursday.
“We are still taking orders,” she said. “We fill up the orders up to 5 p.m. Thursday.”
Other area florists include Added Touch Floral and Flowers by Bob in Duncan. Marlow lovers can call Buzzin Around Flowers and Linda’s Flowers. Pat’s Flowers is operated in Comanche and Velma Flower and Gift Shop is operated in Velma.