Valentine’s Day items began taking up shelf space in Sharon’s Roses shortly after Christmas.
Ordering and stocking for the holiday products began in November for the Killeen florist, said Steve Arnold, who runs the store with his wife, Kim Arnold.
Holiday shopping doesn’t come into full swing until the beginning of the month, but retailers such as florists have prepared for the holiday for months.
It is the busiest time of year for florists, with Mother’s Day coming in as the second busiest, said Joy Paek, owner of A Flower’s Touch in Killeen.
While most businesses see the majority of their sales on Feb. 14, business accelerates about two weeks out and doesn’t return to normal until a week after the holiday.
According to a National Retail Federation survey, an estimated $18.9 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day gifts in 2013. Sixty percent of Americans planned to spend money this holiday. Of those who planned to spend, an average of $130.97 was anticipated to be spent per person.
“It is crazy,” said Kim Arnold. “It is just very busy.”
Sharon’s Roses is among many Central Texas florists that hire more drivers and other staff members to keep up with demand during the Valentine’s Day season.
A Flowers Touch will hire about 12 more people to make deliveries and arrangements to get the shop through the holiday, Paek said.
“For that week, we do about 10 or 15 times more business than regular days.”
According to the National Retail Federation 2013 survey, people planned to spend about $1.9 billion on flowers and $1.7 billion on candy.
“We get close to 10,000 products,” Paek said. “We get 5,000-plus roses (for the day).”
Ribbons, baskets, chocolates, teddy bears, balloons and vases also are popular purchases florists make to prepare for the holiday, Paek said.
Gift baskets are becoming increasingly popular as they provide for a variety of items for the holiday, she said. Paek also orders candles to offer a variety.
“We try to do a little more of the baskets and balloons to try and do something a little different,” Steve Arnold said.
To offer another unique gift, Sharon’s sells handcrafted clay flowers.
The craft is what prompted Kim Arnold’s venture into the business. She used to sell the clay flowers as a roadside vendor, and people enjoyed her arrangements so much they began to ask for real flowers.
Many people buy and give cards for the holiday. Valentine’s Day is the second-largest holiday for greeting card sales.
According to Hallmark’s website, about 142 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged, which doesn’t include packaged kids’ valentines for classrooms.
Estimates for this year weren’t available from the National Retail Federation, but Paek is anticipating a better year after seeing increases during last Valentine’s Day.
“When I order flowers, I will order a little more flowers than last year,” she said.
Friday should be a good day for the holiday and the business because people will still be in their offices to get deliveries and can still go out at night to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Paek said.
“I am always telling my customers, ‘I am trying to get you out of trouble for the whole year,’” she said.
“All the ladies receive flowers, and if your lady doesn’t get them, what are they going to do?”