Valentine’s Day means big green for local florists

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 7, 2010

NATCHEZ — In 1987 a popular rock song declared that love bites. But for the next week, local shop owners and florists say love will pay the bills.

With Valentine’s Day just seven days away, Miss-Lou shop owners are stocked with candies, flowers, balloons and other trinkets and are already receiving orders from those bitten with love.

“Surprisingly we have already gotten a lot of calls from people inquiring about what is popular, what we have available and prices,” said Brenda Zerby, owner of Moreton’s Flowerland. “There has been lots of checking ahead, and that means people are thinking about it and planning on buying.”

Valentine’s Day, Zerby said, is one of those holidays that tradition tends to dictate the gift. She said many of her customers who are already placing orders are doing so for roses — red roses in particular.

“Roses are what is on everyone’s mind when it comes to Valentine’s,” Zerby said. “Most men like, or at least think of, red roses, but I think a lot of women wouldn’t mind seeing more colors.”

Jeffery’s Flower Shop floral designer Catherine Posey said calls have already started coming in at the Ferriday store as well. She said in preparation for the big day the store had a pre-valentines party Friday night for employees.

“We (had) the music going and food to eat,” she said. “We are lining up our vases, making bows, bundling candies — anything we can do to make the end of the week go smoother.”

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, the dilemma is when to give gifts, Posey said. She said so far most people are opting to have flowers ready for pick up or delivery on Friday, but expects to have some business trickle in on Saturday.

Gloria Simmons, owner of Vidalia Flowerland, is having the same response. She said customers are placing orders to be delivered on Friday even though the holiday would still be two days away.

“Its just tradition to send the flowers to work so that is what people are doing,” she said. “I’ve got plenty of orders for 12th, but some for the 11th and 13th as well.

But customers aren’t just looking for flowers. They are also adding touches that make the arrangements personal.

Zerby said it is popular to add balloons and candy to a arrangements, but she has also added fragrances, stuffed animals or figurines to the gifts.

Posey said customers typically know what flowers they are going to order, but spend more time mulling over add-ons.

“People are price conscious, but they still want to do something special and something nice,” she said. “We are accomdating all price ranges. If they come in and tell us what they can spend, we will make something work.

“What is important to us, is that people are sharing their love for each other.”

Simmons said Valentine’s Day is her largest one-day holiday for sales, so seeing people already in the store and already calling in orders is a relief for her.

She said she never knows what to expect, until the week before Valentine’s Day, but this year seems to be shaping up nicely.

“Right now, I’m getting orders in, and I don’t’ think that is just going to stop,” she said. “People are going to show each other they care.”

Zerby said Valentine’s Day is also the No. 1 holiday at Moreton’s, but with the holiday falling on Sunday this year she doesn’t know exactly how the numbers will pan out this year.

“This year is kind of a three-day weekend so the numbers might be the same, but they are likely to be spread out over Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she said.

Moreton’s will be open through Sunday, but Zerby said pre-ordering is the best way to go.

“If you pre-order, you have a better chance of getting exactly what you want,” she said.

Vidalia Flowerland and Jeffery’s Flower Shop will be open Friday and Saturday.