Sales up for holiday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 14, 2009

NATCHEZ — By this evening, an army of delivery drivers will have criss-crossed the Miss-Lou and dropped off thousands off roses.

While the frenzied flower drive will be over by today, the preparations started weeks ago.

On Friday, that frenzy was hitting a fever pitch at flower shops across town.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s pleasantly chaotic in here,” said Brenda Zerby, taking a break between phone orders.

Zerby, owner of Moreton’s Flowerland, said she hired a dozen extra workers to help her get through the big day.

“It’s busy,” she said. “And that’s good for us.”

But for Zerby, Valentine’s Day is more than just a boost for business.

“We just love the smiles on all those faces of all those sweethearts when they get their flowers,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see.”

Across the river at Vidalia Flowerland, almost every inch of counter space, and most of the floor space, was filled with bouquets or empty vases waiting to be filled.

Phoebe Cutrer has been arranging flowers for nearly 25 years and said she loves the mad dash to get all the orders filled for Valentine’s Day.

“It’s fast, and it’s fun,” she said. “It’s just one after another, like an assembly line.”

But getting all those orders filled takes hours of work that often stretch long into the night.

Gloria Simmons, the store’s manager, said in the days just before Valentine’s Day are long and tiresome.

Simmons said it’s not uncommon to get to work around 5 a.m. and leave around midnight.

But there’s no guarantee that leaving will be an option.

Simmons said if there are enough orders to fill, work could continue through the night.

“We can’t leave,” she said. “You have to get everything done.”

And while both Simmons and Zerby said they had some concerns about the economy having a negative impact on their businesses, as of Friday things were good.

“We’re happy,” Simmons said. “I know every man is going to give his wife or his sweetheart something.”