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A busy Valentine's Day at florist's temporary shop

A busy Valentine's Day at Catonsville florist's temporary shop after fire

On Wednesday, Allison Glascock and her staff will take the day off, giving them an opportunity to relax and take care of personal matters.

But first is Tuesday — Valentine's Day — at her business, Blue Iris Flowers.

She called the day one of "organized chaos" as she spent the morning in the shop's back room putting together flower arrangements and placing them on carts for the four cars making deliveries throughout the greater Baltimore area.

"It's the craziest single day of the year, by far, because everybody wants it on the 14th," she said. "It can't be before, it can't be after. It's got to be today."

Glascock has one driver working on a typical day, she said. For Valentine's Day, she had additional help, including her parents.

Steve Fleagle spent his morning making a dozen deliveries to schools, officers and homes. In his second year making deliveries for the florist, he said this year has been just as busy as the year prior for him.

"Everybody's always happy to get flowers," he said. "It's very pleasant."

The holiday came eight days after fire ravaged Blue Iris' Catonsville storefront, doing an estimated $350,000 in damage to the building.

The business reopened Friday at its temporary home, the former Riedel's Flowers in Arbutus. Between then and Monday, 204 Valentine's Day pre-orders arrived — half of them coming Monday.

Flowers started arriving Thursday for the holiday influx of orders.

Last year, Blue Iris filled about 500 orders between Feb. 13 and 14, she said.

She said she imagines she lost some orders, as a result of the fire. The phone lines went back up Thursday, she said.

Despite the fire, she said business has been going well and she was taking delivery orders as late as noon. A week ago Monday, she did not think she'd be back in business in time for the holiday.

"Business today has been amazing," she said. "We're doing much better than I thought we would."

Ellis Winston, a 20-year-old firefighter from Baltimore City, picked up a half-dozen roses wrapped with balloons for girlfriend to complement a 5-foot Teddy bear sitting in the car. His plan was to surprise her with the gifts when he picks her up from work.

"It always makes the females smile," he said about buying flowers. "Whatever you can do to make her smile, always do it."

Tom Newcomb, 76-year-old retired accountant from Halethorpe, bought a bouquet of assorted flowers to deliver to his wife of 44 years, Mary. He may come back next week to buy more flowers for her for her birthday, he said.

"Every day should be Valentine's Day," he said. "Without the commercialism."

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