Lovers holiday means big bucks

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 14, 2008

NATCHEZ —Pop the champagne and light the candles — it’s Valentine’s Day.

Traditionally a day for lovers and sweethearts, Valentine’s Day is also a boon for some local businesses.

Sharman Hart, owner of The Flower Station, said Valentine’s Day is one of her biggest days of the year.

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“We normally have to hire more people,” she said.

This year, Hart hired four helpers to get her through the hustle and bustle of Valentine’s Day.

All that hustle and bustle starts early in the flower business.

“We started stocking up right after Christmas,” she said. “If you want to be ready, you have to start early.”

All that early stocking even applies to the flowers, which were ordered weeks ago.

“Most of (the flowers) come from South America,” she said. “Mostly from Bogot.”

Wednesday, teams of workers scurried through the back of Hart’s shop snipping stems and curling ribbons to be tied on bunches of flowers.

Across the river in Vidalia, a group of workers at Vidalia Flowerland was also busy getting ready for today.

“We are a lot busier than usual,” Gloria Simmons said as she secured a block of green watering foam to the bottom of a decorative vase. “But this is how we like it. It gets all the adrenaline going.”

Simmons works at Flowerland and said she loves every aspect of the work.

“The flowers are just beautiful,” she said. “How could anyone get tired of that?”

But come this evening everyone in the florist business will be very tired.

Simmons said last year she did not leave the shop the night before Valentine’s Day until approximately 3:30 a.m.

But the person likely to have the longest day today is the delivery driver.

Brian Tucker, Flowerland’s delivery driver, said he has so many deliveries to make today it would be almost impossible to count them all.

But Tucker speculated he has more than 200 deliveries.

“It is going to be a very long day,” he said. “I’ll probably start around 7 a.m. and deliver until 8:30 p.m.”

Hart said with several funerals coming up, she’ll be back at work first thing Friday morning.