For florists, Christmas comes in February, usually the time when lovers accelerate their flower power engines for Valentine’s Day.
Carol Beales has owned Galleria Florist on Lee Highway for 15 years and knows a thing or two about the business.
For flower buyers, she urges them to “be patient. It’s always good to plan ahead.” But, “this is a last minute business,” and people inevitably have to wait around this time.
Galleria and Giant in Falls Plaza have Valentine flowers in all price ranges.Shoppers may buy a single rose for $3.99 at Giant or “make a ‘do-it-yourself’” without a vase for as little as $5.
For deeper wallets, arrangements are available for up to $150, said Julie Huynh, a 12-year veteran in the grocer’s floral department.
Beales said, “The average man spends from $90 – $125 and buys at least a dozen roses,” at her shop. For just under $100, Galleria will arrange and deliver a dozen long-stemmed roses. She also has floral displays for $200 and flower arrangements starting at $15.
“Valentine’s is definitively a rose holiday,” Beales said, while pulling flowers from a big, black bucket filled with water. “It’s all about the roses,” and Huynh agreed: “Roses are always the best seller.”
“Red is the most popular color,” Beales said, but that shoppers have drifted to other colors, like bi-colored roses, the past few years. For those who want an alternative to roses, tulips, spring bulbs, lilies and irises are popular and Galleria and Giant have chocolates, balloons and stuffed animals for sale.
“Many men love to send flowers to their wives at work,” Beales said, which means most work deliveries will be made Friday since Valentine’s Day falls on Saturday this year.
Last weekend was “too early to tell” if business is up at Galleria’s, Beales said, but Huynh said this year “is better than last year” at Giant. Galleria will be taking orders through Friday and will have plenty of floral beauties in the shop for walk-ins on Saturday.
“I turn off taking wire service orders since local customers are more important. If anyone’s going to order flowers out-of-town, many florists will stop taking those orders. So much of our business is weather-driven as well as economy-driven,” Beales said.
Who knew the weather was so important to florists? Around Valentine’s Day, they watch the forecast with closely.
“Last year on Feb. 12, it snowed a lot,” Beales said, but, despite the snow, her shop got everything delivered. “It’s harder to deliver when it’s cold. If no one is home, we can’t leave the flowers. Weather is definitely a challenge. We always keep an eye on the weather.”
While Beales talked, she quickly fashioned mini-pink carnations into a dainty corsage for a girl’s wrist for a father-daughter event. “It’s that time of year.”
She’s lucky she has a large family to draw on for help: Her husband, son, mother, daughter, sister, and granddaughters all pitch in for the big week, and she’s hired still more extra help. “It’s harder to hire people now.” Beales and her family will be working nonstop until next Sunday since the days leading up to and including Valentine’s Day are “the busiest four days of the year,” for florists, she said. While she spoke to the News-Press, her sister and mom were nearby helping out and cleaning up.
“We call ourselves florists because everything lands on the floor. We sweep all day long,” Beales joked. And everyone laughed.
The News-Press reached out to Falls Church Florists for this story, but the owners were unavailable to comment.