For Berkshire florists, love is money
Roses are red, violets are blue -- and local florists are rolling in the green.
With Valentine's Day getting closer, Berkshire County flower shops are experiencing an increase in business from Romeos picking out the perfect bouquet to sweep their Valentine off their feet.
"It's definitely a guy's holiday," said Bob Palmer, the owner of Wildflowers Florist in Great Barrington, which sees the most business around Valentine's Day. "It's also trending to women sending [flowers] to guys, but it's typically men. That's the way it's been."
Valentine's Day is known for the traditional dozen red roses, but many Wildflowers Florist customers have been asking for nontraditional bouquets that include tulips and daisies -- spring arrangements.
"They may or may not include red roses," Palmer said.
At Jodi's, a florist and garden shop in Pittsfield, red roses are still the hottest sellers around Valentine's Day.
"Red roses are the symbol of love, so that's why [customers] buy them," said Andrea Blessing, who co-owns the business with her husband.
Blessing said that 2,200 roses have been ordered from Jodi's so far this season, and the business is scheduled to do 200 deliveries throughout the Berkshires today and Thursday, Valentine's Day.
This year's holiday business has been evenly divided between walk-ins and online orders on the business' website, Blessing said.
For Jodi's, this season is actually the second busiest. Mother's Day represents a steady stream of business, whereas Valentine's Day is a "crash holiday," Blessing said.
"It's a one-time thing," she said. "It's that day or no day."
At Noble's Farm Stand and Flower Shop in Pittsfield, customers don't just buy for a significant other -- they're also buying Valentine's Day flowers for family, said Kathy Noble, manager of the flower shop.
"Sons and daughters buy for parents that may be out of town," she said. "I do a lot of nursing home deliveries, too."
Many of Noble's customers choose to add personalized greeting cards to accompany their delivered bouquets.
Noble giggled when recalling some of the more "personal" ones she's seen made to significant others, but she wouldn't repeat them.
"I have to hire extra people to deliver for me, while I stay in and take all the walk-ins and make the bouquets that are going out," she said.
A traditional partner to the flowers is chocolate, and that's why Catherine's Chocolate Shop in Great Barrington also indulges in the Valentine's Day business spike.
Kathy Sinico, the shop's owner, said people have been buying chocolate hearts. But beginning today, the shop will start selling more of its chocolate-covered strawberries to customers.
"We have 35 flats waiting for them," she said.
For those buying gifts for their sweethearts, the wooing can't stop at the purchase, said Palmer, the Wildflowers Florist owner.
Where and how to deliver the flowers can really seal the deal. Don't do it too early and don't do it too late; if possible, have the bouquet delivered at your Valentine's work, Palmer recommended.
"You have to send it at work, so all their peers see it," he said.
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