I love $$$

by For the MBJ

Published: February 11,2008

Valentine’s Day is celebrated with lovers expressing their devotion to one another. It is tradition to send Valentine’s cards, candy or flowers. But forget about those sweet nothings — February 14th also makes a major economic impact on retailers, flower shops and restaurants around metro Jackson.

“Valentine’s is one of our biggest days besides Christmas and Mother’s Day,” says Larinda Vines, merchandising assistant at Amy’s Hallmark Shop at Dogwood Festival in Flowood. “We stay busy for several days leading up to Valentine’s Day, then throughout the day itself.” Vines said that customers aren’t content with just purchasing a card. “We have a huge gift selection for Valentine’s Day and people are buying more than ever.”

Hallmark first offered Valentine’s Day cards in 1913 and began producing them in 1916. Today, approximately 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged industry-wide (not including packaged kids’ valentines for classroom exchanges), making Valentine’s Day the second-largest holiday for giving greeting cards.

Each year, Hallmark stores have a signature Valentine’s CD, and this year it’s by recording artist Reba McEntire. Customers can get her “Love Revival” CD for $7.95 with the purchase of three cards. Hallmark always has signature Valentines stuffed animals, as well.

“This year they are really cute,” said Vines. “We have three styles, one that’s appropriate to give a girl, one for a boy and one that’s for a husband or wife.”

Nothing says love like flowers, and red roses are the flowers of choice for most Valentine’s Day gifts.
Greenbrook Flowers in Jackson and Ridgeland is already gearing up by hiring additional contract drivers for all the anticipated delivery orders.

“We’ll hire 30 drivers for one store and an additional 10 for the other,” said Gwen Colella, manager of the Ridgeland location. “We’ll also add about six additional designers.”

Colella has been at the store since 1991, and she said that Valentine’s Day gets bigger every year. “We sold 680 dozen red roses last year, and we believe it will be more than that this year.”

Colella said that while many people order ahead of time, there are plenty of last-minute shoppers.

“We’ll will see orders pick up on Monday, February 11. And because Valentine’s Day falls near the end of the week this year, we’ll have all week to lead up to it. That always means it will be a big day in terms of sales.”

Regina Kuhlmann, company comptroller of Green Oak Nursery, said it, too, adds extra staff for the Valentine’s Day rush.

“We’ll hire extra drivers and staff to handle all the orders,” she said.

According to Kuhlmann, roses are the biggest seller, but it also sells plenty of fresh cut bouquets that feature a mixture of flowers. “We do a few specialty orders as well.”

Kuhlmann said that the store has been getting Valentine’s Day orders since the second week of January. “We have some very romantic men in Jackson who send their wives or girlfriends flowers every week. They’ll do something very special for Valentine’s Day.”

In addition to flowers, Green Oak will sell lots of chocolates and teddy bears for the holiday.

“And we have something new this year that we think will go over very well,” said Kuhlmann. “It’s the ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ arrangement of sweetheart roses and a box of tiny heart chocolates.”

Special dinner?

It’s said that a way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Metro-area restaurants will be full of lovers having romantic dinners on Valentine’s Day.

“We’ll have a lot of two-tops that night,” said Alex Sivera, owner of Alexander’s in Madison. “Normally, because Madison is a very family-oriented city, we finish up dinner around 9 p.m. But on Valentine’s Day, we’ll have a steady stream of people from 4:30 in the afternoon up to 10:30 at night. We try to make it a very romantic experience for them.”

Sivera said that he’ll bring in additional staff for the evening and he’ll be there throughout the night.

Chad Dees of Elixer in Jackson said that it will have a special menu for Valentine’s Day.

“We are encouraging reservations for the night. Elixer is a destination restaurant and Valentine’s Day is something we work very hard on to make it very special for our guests. We look forward to it all year.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at andersonwrites@yahoo.com .

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