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Holiday of love bodes well for area florists

NATCHEZ — The biggest floral holiday of the year brought smiles to faces of sweethearts, mothers and children throughout the area Monday.

Carrying stuffed animals and balloons in one hand, and a vase of red roses in the other, Lori Nelson, who works part-time for Vidalia Flowerland on Carter Street, made a delivery stop at the Vidalia Police Department Monday morning.

Nelson said the father of a woman employed at the Vidalia Police Department placed the Valentine’s gift order.

“She loved it,” Nelson said. “She said the roses were beautiful.”

Nelson said Vidalia Flowerland saw a rush of last-minute orders and walk-ins. She started deliveries at 7:30 a.m.

“Of course the red roses are the most popular,” Nelson said. “But I delivered some purple roses to Vidalia Oil that were very pretty.”

Brenda Williams, owner and floral designer at Ja’Nel’s Flowers and Gifts on Lower Woodville Road in Natchez, said they were so busy that they had to turn some customers away.

“We’ve had literally hundreds of orders,” Williams said, waving a tall stack of order forms. “We are turning some customers away because we don’t want to disappoint them if we aren’t sure of our supply. We have such a loyal customer base, and we do everything we can to accommodate them.”

Williams has friends who come in to help on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day every year in addition to her regular floral designers.

“I call them my cavalry,” Williams said.

Williams said they had five vans delivering flowers and gifts throughout Adams County and to Concordia Parish.

Williams said one customer was waiting at the door to the shop when she arrived at 6:30 a.m. Monday.

“About 70 percent preorder with us for Valentine’s Day, and the rest procrastinated, but that’s just human nature,” Williams said.

George Cupit, a customer at Ja’Nel’s, said he was attempting to pick out a potted plant for his mother.

“My middle name is “Procrastinator,” Cupit said.

“Our potted plants are flying out the door,” said Betty Lou Hicks, a friend helping Williams out at the store. “I look at this like a positive sign of the economy,” Hicks said. “Flowers are an easy decision to cut out.”

Williams said delivery orders were staged based on geographical location Sunday night at their distribution center.

“It was crammed!” Williams said.

Pam Sandel, one of Williams “cavalry” said some customers were downright honest on the cards that accompany floral arrangements.

“One order was from a mother ordering for her son,” Sandel said. “The card said, ‘Even though you’re mean, I love you anyway.’ I thought it was so cute, I just laughed.”

Pat Fuller, who was working at Ja’Nel’s, said a man ordered candy, a stuffed animal and balloons for his sweetheart because she had an allergic reaction to flowers last year.

Fuller said the card read, “No flowers this year because I don’t want to kill you.”

While the women arranging flowers and assisting customers at Ja’Nel’s were working as hard and quickly as possible, they were all-smiles.

“We work hard on Valentine’s Day, but we have fun too,” Williams said. “I have been unbelievably surprised at how much business we’ve had. Check on me at 6 p.m. when I open a bottle of wine when this day is over!”

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