Seeing Red

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 25, 2009

Some local businesses are seeing red this time of year, but it has nothing to do with the state of the economy.They are just getting in the spirit for the Valentine’s Day. Florists and gift shops are being overrun by various shades of red and pink with just a little white thrown in for good measure.

The décor may just now be showing up in the front of stores but the prep work for the holiday has been going on behind the scenes for sometime.

Sharmen Hart, owner of The Flower Station in Natchez said she started ordering for Valentine’s Day weeks ago.

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“We started ordering containers and things like that around the first of January,” she said.

Gloria Simmons at Vidalia Flowerland said this time of year is especially busy for florists and gift shops with many holidays coming back-to-back.

“By the time I’m pulling down my Christmas, I’m already getting ready for the next holiday,” she said. “Right now, one window is Mardi Gras and other is Valentine’s.”

The shops are also stocking up on fresh flowers of all kinds to compliment the balloons, candies and stuffed animals that are loaded onto the shelves.

“Truly in the first week of January, I started pre-booking my flowers, roses and such,” Simmons said. “And before that I had ordered stuffed animals and things that are coming in now.”

And while shops are being sure to stock enough red roses to go around, Hart said The Flower Station is doing its best to make sure their arrangements aren’t run-of-the-mill.

She said she and her other employees are toying with different ideas to make the flowers really stand out.

“We’ve started prepping containers already and trying to get creative ideas of what we can do,” Hart said. “We always try to do our own special in the shop, something unique for us.”

Along with the flower and container orders, Hart said she was also looking for other items that will make the arrangements “pop.”

“We are looking at more bling and things like that to make the arrangements look cheery and romantic,” she said.

It’s a good thing shop owners started planning ahead of time since they’ve already begun taking orders from customers.

Simmons said about the same time she started ordering flowers, customers started calling in orders.

“Probably within the last two weeks, we’ve already started taking orders,” she said.

Much is the same for Hart at The Flower Station.

“It is usually the middle of January when people start calling,” Hart said. “But there are people who wait to the last minute.”

Customer orders vary little from year to year with roses always taking the top spot.

“Mainly guys want their roses,” Hart said. “Tropical arrangements are getting popular, too and I’ve gotten orders plants too.

“But mainly it is the traditional roses, balloons and candies.”

And customers looking for something for the younger crowd are in luck as well because it seems there is something for everyone when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

“We’ve got stuffed animals and those blown up balloons for the kids,” Simmons said.