Prep work makes Valentine's 'special'

Petal Pushers owner Scott Reed puts up decorations for an event in West Point.
Staff Writer

Everyone knows florists are busy at Valentine’s Day. In fact, busy might be an understatement. But seldom is any thought given to the planning and preparation that goes into making sure it all happens just right.

"Oh my word, there's so much that goes into it, it's not just putting some flowers in a vase or a box," exclaimed Shirley Miller at Flowers by Shirley in West Point. "We've got six weeks between Christmas and Valentine's. As soon as we shut the doors on Christmas, we start gearing up for Valentine's."

Some of the preparation begins even earlier.

"We start some of the planning in October. Christmas is so hectic that if you don't start thinking about some of it in October, it'll get lost," explained Scott Reed, who is celebrating his 14th Valentine's as owner of Petal Pushers in West Point.

Good record keeping makes planning for the next year easier because Valentine's doesn't change significantly from one year to the next.

"It's very traditional. There are trends and fads in floriculture like there are in fashion or home decor, but Valentine's stays pretty much the same each year. It's easier to prepare for … Red roses are always going to be number one," Reed stated.

Like Reed, Miller also relies on past experience and successes, especially when it comes to things like the candies and fruit baskets she also sells at her business.

And having Valentine's fall on a Wednesday this year makes a difference.

"When it's on a weekday, it means more business for us," Miller said. "On weekends, couples plan other things or other events get in the way."

"It's harder to plan a dinner or a romantic weekend or something like that when it's in the middle of the week. People have to work. We get more flower orders," Reed agreed.

And while the flowers have to be perfect, getting them there on time is just as important. Most florists call in extra help to organize delivery times and schedules, routes and all the other little details that go with it.

"The flowers can be beautiful but if they get there at the wrong time or late, you can be doomed. We spend a lot of time focusing on that. I've got people who have been helping with extra deliveries for 10 or 12 years. My mom comes in and gets all that in order," Reed said.

And while everyone remembers that special arrangement or dozen roses, other little things have happened well in advance to make sue it's perfect.

"We got in a flower shipment today. It had to be unloaded and re-cut and put in warm water. Each stem has to be re-cut just right. People don't think about all that has happened several times over before a flower ever goes out the door. If everyone knew that, it would be even more special," Miller said wistfully.