Valentine's Day: The rush is on
Jackie Burrell, owner of Sky¿¿¿s the Limit in Petoskey, puts the finishing touches on a tulip bouquet. Over the next few days, Burrell and her staff will put together hundreds of orders for Valentine¿¿¿s Day. (RACHEL BROUGHAM/NEWS-REVIEW)
-- Don't set your flowers near direct heat, such as behind a computer, on top of a television, or near a heat vent
-- make sure they have fresh water
-- cover them between the flower shop and home, to keep them protected from the cold
-- trim stems if kept in a vase.
It's estimated that $1.7 billion will be spent on flowers this Valentine's Day. And according to the United States National Retail Federation, 73 percent of those buying flowers will be men.
"It's really the busiest week of the year for us because it doesn't count if you get flowers on the 15th, it has to be the 14th," joked Jackie Burrell, owner of Sky's the Limit in Petoskey.
Burrell, a florist for more than 30 years, is working 10-plus hour days these next few days in order to fulfill hundreds of Valentine's Day flower orders.
And in the midst of all the roses, carnations and tulips, Burrell often finds herself helping men decide which arrangement will fit their loved one best.
"It doesn't matter what you do or what you tell them, guys always think red roses are it and I know red roses aren't necessarily a woman's first choice," Burrell said. "So I love it when a guy comes in here and says something like, 'sunflowers are her favorite.' That way I know there's some real thought going into it."
This year, a dozen long stem red roses will set you back about $75, a price that Burrell said hasn't changed much over the last six years or so. The price tag is a direct reflection of the high demand on the popular flower this time of year.
There is a shortage of red roses every year at this time because many roses are cut for Christmas bouquets and for the Rose Bowl parade. With just six weeks between the holidays and Valentine's Day, there isn't enough time in the growing season to meet the high demand.
"I think every woman should receive a dozen red roses at least once in their lives, but there are other options out there. I mean, for me personally, I'd rather get a pretty mixed bouquet with lots of color," Burrell said.
Despite the long work days leading up to Valentine's Day, Burrell said it's the stories told by her customers that make all the stress and long hours worthwhile.
"There is always one or two people that come in with really special stories that make you just kind of say, 'aww,'" she explained. "Like the guy who wants to hide the engagement ring in the rose, or a guy that is buying flowers for the first time for a new girlfriend. Those are what make the holiday special for us."
Burrell and her extra staff will spend this weekend preparing for the Monday rush.
A couple years ago, Burrell and her crew had 350 deliveries for Valentine's Day, their most ever. While she doesn't think they'll top that number this year, Burrell looks forward to having her hard work bring smiles to hundreds of faces.
"I always tell people that it's not about what you get, it's about who sees what you got," she joked.