NJ florists ‘can’t breathe’ on Valentine’s Day, but they love the extra business
Three giant coolers at Brick Flower Market have been stocked ahead of Tuesday morning, hoping to limit the chaos that is Valentine's Day.
But owner Nancy Petrellese knows that prep work will only make a small dent in the orders expected in store, over the phone and online.
"We'll walk in to maybe 100, 200, 300 orders to fill that same day," Petrellese said. "Then our designers restock all day long."
New Jersey lovers have had 365 days to prepare their gifts for Valentine's Day. Still, droves of customers every year flood florists and supermarkets throughout the state to create a last-minute rush unlike any other.
And when V-Day lands on a weekday, flower shops expect even more business.
Typically, Petrellese's shop needs the help of one or two drivers on a daily basis. Today, there are 25 drivers delivering to homes and offices. Twelve people are staffing the store itself, compared to the typical three or four.
Staff was scheduled to arrive before 6 a.m. at Hours of Flowers in Manalapan to get a leg up on the all-day rush that can sometimes last until 10 p.m, owner Hope Lupinacci said.
"You can't even breathe," she said. "It's nonstop. We try to never say no."
Deliveries today, compared to any other Tuesday during the year, are up about 300 percent, she said.
At least half the orders at Ramtown Florist in Howell include red roses, the classic go-to for Valentine's Day, according to designer Jane Nordquist. The shop expects a rush from open to close.
"We prepare as much as can two or three days ahead of time, depending on availability of space that we have," Nordquist said. "But roses are perishable, so we really can't do it too far out."
A 2017 survey from the National Retail Federation finds consumers are expected to spend an average $136.57 on Valentine's Day. Nearly 18 percent of that money is headed to florists.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.