Valentine’s eve good for business

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, Northeast Mississippians had an extra weekend to be prepared.
Many of them took advantage.
Restaurants, jewelers and flower shops were busy on Saturday, as people made sure they had something special for their sweethearts.
“Everything has gone beautifully,” said Tracy Holton-Garrett, store manager and jewelry designer at Van Atkins Jewelers in New Albany. “I don’t think any of us have had a chance to sit down and catch our breath the last three days.”
In fact, so many people had bought jewelry recently that Holton-Garrett said business was as good as it was before economic downturn.
Business was down last year, but this year’s sales have been even better than those in 2008, which was a good year, the manager said.
“2007 was our best year, and we’re starting to feel like we were in 2007, which is good news recession-wise,” Holton-Garrett said. “Engagement rings and wedding bands never dropped off for us. What had slowed down was special occasions like this.”
Some retailers benefited with Valentine’s Day falling on a weekend. Highway 45 was backed up with cars heading to The Mall at Barnes Crossing on Saturday afternoon.
“It is super, super busy,” said mall general manager Jeff Snyder. “Valentine’s would be busy the day before if it were on a Wednesday. Anytime you have a Valentine’s-type holiday that falls on a weekend, it really gets a lot of action.
“You can go out and stay longer. You can take the whole family and spend the whole day.”
Not everyone was glad the lover’s holiday fell on a weekend. Danny Brown, the owner of DB’s Floral Designs N’ More in Saltillo, said business tends to be better for him when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday. People like to have flowers delivered at work. When the holiday falls on a weekend, customers sometimes use the money they would spend on flowers on a nice dinner.
But it was still busy enough for Brown to keep his store open four hours longer than normal on Saturday. He also plans to open today, something he doesn’t normally do.
“We have gotten good foot traffic,” Brown said.
Managers at La Meson D’or, a new French restaurant in Tupelo, and Anthony’s Good Food Market in West Point both said they were busier than normal on Saturday.
“The weekend makes it an extended two-day holiday,” said Will Younghouse, general manager at Anthony’s.
Le Meson D’or manager Enrique Anador said his restaurant had several reservations for Saturday night.
Not everyone celebrated Valentine’s Day eve by shopping. The Lee County Library held a contest for dogs dressed “in their Valentine best.” Five dogs wearing red shirts, sweaters, hearts or cupid wings did tricks and listened to librarian Vicky Manning read a story about a dog. Dog owners brought donations for the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.
“We try to have the families bring their dogs out and stress how important it is to help with the Humane Society,” Manning said. “We told them about books we have to help take care of pets.”
Susan Griffin and her 9-year-old son Scott gave their British Labrador, Sadie, a pink tiara, red cupid wings and a red skirt.
“It gave us something to do with Scott and his dog,” Griffin said.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at chris.kieffer@djournal.com.