Local lovers ring registers at Demopolis flower shops

Published 6:22 pm Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine’s Day is the most active — and most profitable — time of the year for florists and gift providers, but turning a good profit also takes a lot of work and preparation.

“Our staff has been here for more than 10 years,” said Maison de Fleur owner Terrie Monroe, who bought the flower shop last year. “We have a really good system for getting it done.

That system includes doing prep work up to a week ahead and bringing in a staff of up to 10 people to work on arrangements, nearly doubling their average day-to-day staff.

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“We’ll have four delivery trucks running Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she said.

The flowers come in from wholesalers in Tuscaloosa and Meridian, Miss. For the weekend, 2,500 red roses alone were ordered, along with 500 mixed-color roses.

“We order our flowers three to four months ahead,” said Audrey Barnes of Lindsey’s. “This is one of the biggest single days that we have. Christmas, you have all month; for Easter, you have about a week, but Valentine’s Day is just one day. I’d say we’ll have 300 to 400 orders, since Valentine’s Day is over the weekend.”

“When the flowers come in by truck, you have to strip the leaves, snip the stems and, with roses, there is a special solution that they go in,” Monroe said. “It’s been a lot of work; the back room is really full.”

Delivery is also a consideration, and Cile McCarter will set up camp in her delivery truck throughout the weekend.

“I drive from 8:30 to 5:30 or whenever,” she said. “The last day, I’ll drive until (the flowers) are gone. I filled the tank up (Wednesday), and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will last through Saturday.

“I’d say Valentine’s Day is a good 30 percent of our yearly business,” Barnes said. “(Being on a Sunday) has really made it easier for us, since we spread it out over the entire weekend.”

“It’s by far the biggest day of the year,” said Kaye Evans, the former owner of Maison de Briques who is helping to prepare orders at the shop’s new name, Maison de Fleur. “I would say about one-tenth of the annual sales for the one day. This is a different year, since Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday, and we have snow this weekend, so it’s hard to say what will happen this year, but in the past, we’ve ordered a couple thousand flowers.”