For couples, Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance. For the florists who help make that romance happen, it is one of the biggest work days of the year.
That work got more difficult this week, as New York City got hit with a wintery mix of wet snow and freezing rain, that left streets and sidewalks slippery. Florists are scrambling to fill and send off their orders to their customers.
While the snow made deliveries worse for employees, who bring flowers on foot, the situation would have been much worse if the storm had come last Sunday when the flowers were being shipped into the city, said Susan Holt, the owner of the flower shop, Peonies.
The fact that temperatures hovered just above freezing also helped, said Lilli Wright, 35, a freelance florist at Peonies. They were able to store the extra blooms under the scaffolding in front of the store, making more space for employees to move around. A bitter cold snap would have been much more damaging to the flowers.
At Academy Floral, on the Upper West Side, everything was running fairly smoothly, said Laurel Hunnewell, 27, a floral associate.
A few drivers had been delayed delivering flowers on Thursday because of the storm, and everyone got a later start than usual, she said. The biggest problem: orders mistakenly delivered elsewhere putting drivers already behind schedule even further behind.
Normally on the day before Valentine’s Day, Academy Floral’s staff would come in between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., said said Salvatore LoMonaco, the store’s owner.
“My brain is anywhere but here right now,” said LoManoco, as he watched employees collecting an order for delivery, yelling instructions across the store.
Despite the weather on Thursday, LoManoco said he was optimistic about the Valentine’s Day orders. As of Thursday afternoon, when the store had 200 delivery orders, most of them bouquets of roses for $85 apiece.
“There is nothing you can do about the snow,” he said, pointing outside. “See, it’s turning into rain already.”
The inside of Posies on the Upper West Side teemed with employees hurrying through the narrow display area. The small boutique had doubled its staff this week to handle the surge in business. Already, sales tallied at twice the regular sales rate, said Holt.
“The work is just constant,” said Wright who is helping out at Peonies for the week. “People call all day. Some guys even call as late as 7pm on Valentine’s Day.”
Last minute shoppers be warned, however. Posies, will probably stop making flower deliveries sometime in the afternoon, on Valentine’s Day. For those procrastinators, coming into the store to pick up a bouquet is a safer option, said Wright.
And she added, don’t for get to pick something up for the florist in your life.
“It’s a common misconception that florists don’t want flowers,” said Wright, but she said, “Everyone loves flowers.” Even florists.