He loves me, he loves me not


By David Rothmund

The phone was ringing off the hook, the line was getting longer and the orders were piling up.

The sweet scent of roses and tulips wafted through the air as the front door alarm went off continuously.

Among the bundles of flowers, boxes of chocolate and stuffed animals, various plaques of achievements sit atop a shelf containing a variety of flower vases.

Campus Florist, a campus flower shop located at 609 E. Green St., is preparing for one of their busiest times of the year — Valentine’s Day.

According to founder Anne Johnston, this year marks the flower shop’s 73rd year of business. In comparison to its first year in 1941, Johnston said, “Things have changed — kids didn’t have money our first year of business; they don’t have it now, but will find (the means to pay for it).”

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Now, those kids search for money because it’s always better to give a little something than to give nothing, she said.

As she gazed at all of her employees, working hard to fill last-minute orders, Johnston said the business’ main mission is to please everyone.

“A lot of people come in last minute, especially when the date asks if they are receiving anything,” she laughed. 

Whether one wants purchase a bouquet of roses, a stuffed animal, Illini memorabilia or candy, Campus Florist has it all. 

Similarly, April Deters, owner of April’s Florist, which is located at 512 E. John St., said “business at least quadruples” during the week of Valentine’s Day, This is one of the busiest times of the year for flower shops, she said.

Even though free time is uncommon around Valentine’s Day, Deters said that she enjoys working in the floral industry because of the joy it brings people.

Jackie Krejnik, University alumna and friend to Deters who traveled to the shop from Chicago to give a helping hand, shares a similar opinion about the secular holiday.

“Whether it’s a romantic date or spent with family, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and happiness,” Krejnik said. 

Krejnik said that although there are times when customers will forget about the middle-man doing the work, in the end the customers will show love and appreciation for all that the florists do.

“If you don’t know what to give as a gift, trust the floral designer,” Krejnik said.

If students are unsure what to get their dates for Valentine’s Day, Johnston recommended a bouquet of red roses. 

“It’s a favorite of all women,” she said. “Well, most of them anyways.”

Johnston said familiar faces have motivated her to stay in the floral industry for so long, but she added that she meets new people every time she works. Additionally, throughout the 73 years of business, Johnston said she has received numerous amounts of cards and letters from past customers and employees. That, she said, makes it worthwhile.

While the campus flower shops have a variety of customers, Johnston said her main customer base revolves around a certain group: “Anyone who’s in love.” 

David can be reached at [email protected].

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Anne Johnston’s last name as Johnson. The Daily Illini regrets the error.