Local businesses ‘feeling the love’ for Valentine’s Day

Published 6:29 pm Friday, February 13, 2015

Jonna Jones of Jemison Florist works on a bouquet of roses to have ready for Valentine's Day.

Jonna Jones of Jemison Florist works on a bouquet of roses to have ready for Valentine’s Day.

Several local business were feeling the love on Friday, as customers came by the dozens looking for Valentine’s Day gifts.

Chris Jones, co-owner of Jemison Florist with his wife, Jonna, said the preparation for the rush of sellers on Friday started early in the week, with around 2,500 roses coming in on Monday.

“We get the flowers in on Monday,” Chris Jones said, “You have to clip them, dethorn them, get them separated and rehydrated. Then you start taking orders and the phone’s ringing off the hook.”

Much like Christmas shopping, Jones said several shoppers wait until the last minute to buy a gift.

“It’s chaos,” he said, chuckling. “Guys always wait until the last minute.”

Jones said the business planned to have another, smaller, shipment come in just for Saturday, not knowing how many flowers to have available could be tricky.

“It’s hard to, with Valentine’s Day being on Saturday, decide how many to get,”  he said. “It’s a gamble, really. You go based on the last year, but every year’s different.”

In addition to flowers, Jones said Jemison Florist offered gift baskets for both men and women, and said he felt the shopping turnout had improved from last year.

“It’s probably a little better,” he said. “You can tell the economy’s coming back. It’s positive. Any time you sell out, it’s a positive.”

Jones also said the business had several hundred individual orders going out on Friday, and that unlike the multi-week Christmas shopping season, Valentine’s Day shopping lasted two days at the most.

“Today, we did 300 individual deliveries for the season,” he said. “The season’s two days. If Valentine’s is on a Friday, it’s a one-day season.”

For Becky Patterson, owner of Pinedale Gardens in Clanton, the shopping rush has been limited to a single day. Patterson said that she felt the majority of the shoppers came on Friday, instead of Valentine’s Day.

“It’s usually one day,” she said. “We didn’t really know what to expect. “It’s been really good. Almost everything we had now is gone.”

Patterson said sales were helped by area schools only allowing approved businesses to deliver Valentine’s gifts.

“The schools didn’t allow anyone but the florists to deliver,” she said. “That kind of boosted everything up a little bit. We had a lot more sales due to that. It helps us, and it helps the school because it’s a safety issue. They don’t know who’s bringing what in, and we don’t accept anything from out of our store. If you walked in and wanted to give me a bear to add in, I’d tell you no. It’s just for safety reasons.”

With the rise in sales from school deliveries came a rise in pressure, as well as a number of shoppers trying to get purchases finished before the weekend, Patterson said.

“It was a madhouse. I think we’ve got the phones off the hook to try and get caught up,” she said, with a laugh. “That always (happens). “They know they’ve got to have something, and really it’s not last minute because we have tomorrow, but today’s been the (busy) day.”

While not offering flowers, Peaches & Brew in Clanton manager Benita Fore said the cafe and bistro had seen a rush of consumers as well.

“It’s been crazy,” she said, with a laugh. “We’ve been trying to get ready for it. We get a lot of orders from our Facebook page.”

The business has been offering items such as bouquets of chocolate covered marshmallows, Valentine’s Day-themed cakes among other items, Fore said. She also said that orders for deliveries, both to individuals and the schools, have made for a busy Valentine’s season.

In addition to offering edible items, Fore said Peaches & Brew has also been offering items such as stuffed animals with the bouquets.

“We’ve had a lot of orders for delivery and for pickup on Valentine’s,” she said. “We’ve been doing well.”

Debbie Burch, manager of Wright Drugs in Clanton, said the business saw an increase in customers—and in stress—for Valentine’s Day.

“We do well, but it’s chaotic the day of,” she said. “Men wait until the last minute. Women shop all week, but men will come in right  before we close.”

Burch said the business offered “a little bit of everything,” from gift baskets to jewelry, and that certain shoppers have particular tendencies.

“Grandma’s are looking for stuffed animals and little boxes of candy (for grandchildren),” she said. “Husbands are looking for jewelry, and (women buy) a lot of candy and cologne and Alabama-Auburn stuff.”

Burch also said she felt shoppers tended to come in waves.

“You’ll look up, and the store will be full,” she said. “Then it’ll slack off, then be full again.”