• September 1, 2014

Central Texas florist shop employees work long days before Valentine’s Day

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Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 4:30 am

COPPERAS COVE — Walk-in coolers, back counters, tables and floors were stacked with flowers Thursday at Michele’s Floral and Gifts.

About 15 employees were working at various stations by mid-afternoon. Some made floral arrangements, while others took calls or helped customers who walked in the store.

“Our designers are our thoroughbreds,” said Michele McGuire, store owner. “They do most of the work.”

Florists across Central Texas worked long hours to make Valentine’s Day special for a lot of people. For McGuire and people like her, she had several almost sleepless nights to do something she loves.

“The last two nights, we have been here until 3 a.m.,” McGuire said. “This whole week, I have done four 20-hour days.”

At least three other shop workers pulled the same hours.

Several were on their fourth 15-hour day.

“We are here very, very late at night,” said Lauren Young, who has worked at the shop for almost a year.

Young spent much of Thursday making arrangements and helping customers pick out last-minute gifts or flowers.

The store’s workforce grew from seven full- and part-time employees to 30.

Temporary workers were hired to meet the demand.

One person answering phones was a former employee who flew from Wyoming for the holiday rush.

An estimated 37 percent of people celebrating Valentine’s Day buy flowers, according to a survey published by the National Retail Federation.

Those people spend an average of $40.20 on flowers, for an estimated $1.9 billion nationwide.

But the holiday isn’t about the money for Michele’s Floral employees.

“I definitely don’t do it for the money. ... I do it because I love it, because I love people,” McGuire said.

Valentine’s Day is a day about telling people you love them, she said. Every employee at the shop — from the designers to the call-takers to the delivery drivers — realizes that.

“We aren’t selling flowers,” McGuire said. “We are selling emotions. If we mess this up, we have done a disservice on both ends — to the person who is sending the flowers and the person receiving them.”

Young said the intense pressure is worth it.

“It is always nice to make someone’s day,” she said.

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