Businesses prepare for sweetheart deals

By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal

If you are planning on getting something for that special someone on Thursday, you’re not alone.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend more than $18.6 billion on Valentine’s Day 2013. Half of those polled by the NRF said they will buy candy, followed by a third who will send flowers and 20 percent who will buy jewelry.
Florist Rosemary Gaines, who owns Jody’s, said Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year. She said about half of her orders will come in before Wednesday. She warns that those who wait too late are not guaranteed to get exactly what they are looking for.
For something different, Gaines suggests sending purple roses instead of the more traditional red.
She said, “A lot of our customers don’t want red. They want something that will stand out.”
Brock Bishop of Magnolia Wholesale Florist in Tupelo has a few new items on the market this year, including tie-dyed roses. These multi-colored roses are sort of a ‘70s throwback, but don’t expect prices to mirror that decade. The stem-dyed roses will retail between $120 and $150 a dozen,” he said.
Bishop said social media sites are challenging florists to stay relevant.
“Pinterest is pushing flowers to a whole new dimension,” he said. Still, pink, white and red roses make up most of his orders, followed by tulips and gerbera daisies.
Magnolia serves florists within 100 miles of Tupelo. Sales this year are steady with rose orders for Thursday ranging from 300 to 4,000 stems per store.
Bishop said Valentine’s Day alone accounts for about 10 percent of his annual business but that it doesn’t see the huge sales numbers one might expect. Prices are up almost 10 percent for wholesalers this year, though area florists say they are not passing those costs on to customers. Retail prices seem to have held steady to last year’s prices.
Sweets are an ever-popular gift on Valentine’s Day. Holly McCoy at Rosie’s in downtown Tupelo says they already have received more than 300 orders for heart-shaped red and white cookies.
Rosie’s is usually closed on Mondays, but opened this week to avoid missing out on orders for Thursday.
Jewelers are also seeing an uptick in business for the holiday. Treasa Smith from Stone’s Jewelry said business has been good and several engagement rings have been purchased.
“Christmas is spread out over two to three weeks, but Valentine’s business usually happens over two to three days,” Smith said.

Click video to hear audio