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Will flower sales bloom this Valentines?

TRI-COUNTY AREA—Flowers are a classic Valentine’s Day gift, but some area florists saw a drop in profits last year.
At the same time, the florists also reported the number of customers was about the same comparing 2010 with 2009.
Yvonne MacMillon, owner of Garden of Life Flowers and Gifts in Penn Yan, said business last Valentine’s Day was down around 15 percent compared to 2009. She added the number of customers was about the same.
MacMillon explained one factor that affects sales is where Valentine’s Day ends up during the week. She said business is better if Valentine’s Day is during the week, as opposed to the weekend. MacMillon said last year Valentine’s Day was on a Sunday.
Most florists in the area offer flowers and bouquets over a range of prices, from $10 up around $80. MacMillon explained people go more for the lower cost, adding that cheaper flowers at grocery stores hurt the florists’ bottom line.
Sharie Beaver, owner of Stillman’s Greenhouse in Montour Falls, said almost all florists offer cheaper floral alternatives. She added Valentine’s Day sales at Stillman’s have not been fluctuating like for some other florists. Beaver said she expects this Valentine’s Day to be better because it falls on a Monday, and not a weekend.
Beaver added one change she is seeing in the floral industry is more women sending flowers to men. She said customers are also sending gifts earlier when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
Sandy Bates, owner of Rosewood Flowers and Gifts in Branchport, said Valentine’s Day sales were down between 20 and 30 percent from 2010 to 2009. However, she added the store was still busy last year.
“(Customers) are certainly spending quite a bit less,” Bates said. She added instead of a dozen roses, people bought just six.
Bates explained that the cost of flowers is also going up. She said, “when gas goes up, flowers go up.”
Marilyn Mosher, owner of Blooming Creations in Watkins Glen, said last year sales were better than on Valentine’s Day in 2009. She said sales were about 20 percent better. Mosher explained she thinks sales have been improving because the shop is more established. She said five years ago when Blooming Creations was first open there was a blizzard on Valentine’s Day, which hurt business.




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