Shops prepare for Valentine’s Day

Troy Stanger

Troy Stanger

By Dirk Vanover

For many couples, this time of the year means romance. For area flower shops, Valentine’s Day means business.

“These weeks leading up to Valentine’s are some of our busiest of the year,” said April Deters, owner of April’s Country Florist at 502 E. John St. in Champaign.

Deters also noticed that the orders and traffic coming into her store began earlier this year than in past years.

“With the holiday falling on a Monday, it seems people are planning a little earlier,” she said.

The traffic in Anne Johnston’s store, Campus Florist at 609 E. Green St. in Champaign, also increases near Valentine’s Day.

“All we know is that we’re really busy,” Johnston said.

Deters and Johnston both agree that the most popular Valentine’s Day flower is the rose, although Gerber daisies and tulips sell well also.

“Roses are very popular. They’re the most traditional,” Deters said.

According to the Society of American Florists, nearly 175 million roses were produced for Valentine’s Day in 2004 and a similar number is expected this year.

Being in the Midwest, however, can pose problems for florists. Because of the cold weather during this time of the year, most flowers must be shipped from other states and countries.

“They come from all over,” Johnston said.

The Society of American Florists lists the top two flower-importing countries as Colombia and Ecuador and the top two states as California and Florida.

Even though the flowers must be shipped in, local florists rarely have problems getting daily shipments.

“The flower delivery is excellent in this area,” Deters said.

The weather is also one of the biggest factors in determining the price of flowers.

“The weather is a very, very important item in the floral business at this time of the year,” Johnston said.

Because the flowers must be delivered from distant places during the winter, the price of flowers goes up, and if the weather interferes with deliveries, the prices can increase further.

The biggest factor affecting the price of flowers is demand. The popularity of the rose and the difficulty in obtaining it at this time of the year make it one of the more expensive flowers. At both Campus Florist and April’s Country Florist, roses are priced around $5 per stem that can deter some customers.

Luke Holub, junior in engineering, thought about buying his girlfriend roses, but changed his mind when he saw that a dozen would cost $60.

“I figured I would spend the money on something more meaningful than flowers,” Holub said.

The increase in demand also means florists will often have to hire more people to help out at this time of year, which can also affect the price. To deal with the increase in business, Deters brings in extra help to work at her shop.

“We have regular people who come back and help at Valentine’s,” Deters said.