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Local florists prepare for Valentine's Day blitz
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Gertrude Gois adds finishing touches to a large bouquet, complete with a custom black vase courtesy of the Turlock Flower Shop on Main Street. - photo by BROOKE BORBA / The Journal

As Valentine’s Day looms near, love-struck customers nationwide are busy rustling up the perfect gift for the amorous holiday. The same can be said for local flower shop owners as they ready themselves for the pressure of delivering important presents on that special day.

“Valentine’s Day is the busiest time of the year,” said Tina Zamaroni, owner of the Turlock Flower Shop off Main Street, a store which has been situated in downtown Turlock for roughly 50 years. “We’ve seen a lot of Valentine’s Days. So we must be doing something right.”

According to Zamaroni, the only holiday that comes close to selling as many bouquets as Valentine’s Day is Mother’s Day. Customers spend hundreds of dollars on both holidays to get that perfect bouquet.

“I like Mother’s Day a little better,” Linda Mikkelson of Dean Floral said. “I like roses, but it is nice to work with different flowers, different colors.”

The only difference between the two is that deliveries can be very demanding on Valentine’s Day compared to Mother’s Day, which tends to spread out across the week.

Cathleen Passadori of Dean Floral, also off Main Street, said Valentine’s Day is easily one of the most demanding holidays because every delivery needs to be made on Feb. 14 to ensure that each sweetheart receives their due before tempers fly.

“We have to rely on our family for help,” Passadori said. “They have to know the area pretty well too, so that they can deliver one batch and come back for another quickly.”

Zamaroni believes that the allure of receiving a delivery of flowers is an extra special gesture.

“I think flowers are one of the best ways to show someone you care, especially when they are delivered by someone other than yourself,” she said. “It comes as such a surprise whether you are at work or at home. The knock on the door and the person arriving with flowers just makes them happy and smile.”

The most common flower delivery includes a dozen red roses, lilies, or tulips in a glass or plastic vase. According to the U.S. Consensus Bureau, approximately $17 million dollars was spent as a combined wholesale of cut roses, with California as the leading producer alone.

Men tend to be the most frequent buyers on Valentine’s Day, and request flowers up to weeks ahead of time. Although, Zamaroni still notices that the day before or the day of Valentine’s Day continues to be one of her busiest times due to last minute shoppers.

“Orders are stacking up and we’ve been fairly busy today," she said on Tuesday. "I’m sure Wednesday and Thursday will be a big rush. The last minute guys, you know how that is. They never come by the day after. They better not be trying the day after. That wouldn’t go over very well.”

Prices are expected to be slightly raised for red roses, which tend to be the favorite in a Valentine arrangement. Typically, Valentine’s Day roses cost more in February due to the increase in demand. The growers reap the benefits while the florist pays the price for the demand.

“I don’t like having to have to raise the prices on roses during Valentine’s, but I have to. I actually should charge more, but I don’t,” said Mikkelson. “It’s tough on the younger guys.”

According to the National Retail Federation, roughly $2 billion dollars will be spent on flowers this Valentine’s Day, while approximately $16 billion will be spent in gifts overall for 2013. As a result, many florists are expecting a commercially satisfying Valentine’s Day.