Each Valentine’s Day, Americans spend $13.19 billion, or $116.21 per consumer, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute website, www.statisticbrain.com.

Many local businesses benefit from the revenue-generating opportunities created by Valentine’s Day.

“I almost consider (the) holiday season to run through Valentine’s Day because for us it is a long, steady period of people buying gifts,” said Erin Shephard, owner of Lonestar Pin-Up Photography, with studios in Killeen and Salado.

Lonestar Pin-Up specializes in transforming customers to look like pin-up models of the 1940s and 1950s. Like many small-business owners, Shephard created a special offer for Valentine’s Day.

“We have a special setup for Valentine’s Day in our studio in Salado,” Shephard said. “We have a Valentine’s Day package deal that includes the photo shoot, hair and makeup, wardrobe and some digital images.”

Katherine Robbins, owner of Cookie Addiction in Harker Heights, said the bakery is offering several specialty items designed for Valentine’s Day.

“Valentine’s Day is big for us, but the only problem with Valentine’s Day is, people wait until the last minute,” Robbins said. “It makes it very hard to plan because we don’t know what is coming.”

Robbins said Valentine’s Day helps make February a solid sales month.

“It makes it a good month, but it doesn’t compare to Halloween or Christmas,” she said. “Those are our biggest holidays. But Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are very good for us.”

She added: “People seem to plan better for their mothers, too.”

Sherry Hoffpauir, senior sales manager at the Courtyard By Marriott in Killeen, said the new hotel is working overtime to capitalize on holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

“It is really important to take advantage of the opportunities provided by some of the smaller holidays,” Hoffpauir said. “We’re even going to have a package next January to celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday. Now that’s a real small holiday. We’re going to call it our ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ package.”

The Courtyard By Marriott in Killeen is offering a Love & Lattes package for Valentine’s Day. The package includes a king-size room, chocolate-covered strawberries and a gift certificate to the hotel’s bistro. Hoffpauir hopes couples planning romantic “staycations” for Valentine’s Day will take advantage of the deal.

“We’re the new kids on the block, and this is a great way to kick off February,” she said. “With so many soldiers deploying and returning home, it seemed like a good idea to offer a romance package so mom and dad can get some time alone in a nice hotel.”

Restaurants count on couples to boost sales on Valentine’s Day. Nexhdet Thaqi, owner of Luigi’s in Harker Heights, said he knows Valentine’s Day will be one of his busiest days of the year. He is designing a special Valentine’s Day menu.

“It is a very important day for us,” Thaqi said. “Last year, we opened on Jan. 24, and we were packed on Valentine’s Day. It was very busy. And it’s not just us. Everybody should be busy.”

Robbins is counting on being busy, too. That is why she is spending so much time in the kitchen working on Valentine’s Day specialties like gift boxes made from milk chocolate.

Shephard has a solution for people who haven’t yet made Valentine’s Day plans.

“They can always buy gift certificates,” she said. “Those are good all through the year.”

Contact Mason Lerner at mlerner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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