For many people, Valentine’s Day calls for chocolates, jewelry, and flowers. For local store owners and employees in Lawrence, this special day calls for preparation, preparation, and more preparation.
“It is our busiest holiday,” said Kristin Spacek, owner of Owens Flower Shop. “On a normal day, we do an average of 20 to 30 deliveries. On Valentine’s Day, we do over 400.”
According to the National Retail Federation, the average amount a person spends for Valentine’s Day is $161.96, raising $18.40 from last year. This is mostly spent on candy, followed by greeting cards, clothing and an evening out. Flowers and jewelry, despite assumptions, is second to last before gift cards and certificates.
Department stores are the go-to for Valentine’s gifts, according to the National Retail Federation, with only 14 percent of shoppers buying from local businesses.
Cassie Arrington, a junior at the University of Kansas from Fullerton, California, chose to go to Target instead of shopping locally.
“I have never shopped local before so I don’t really know what they have to offer,” Arrington said.
At Target, Arrington purchased balloons and candy for her friends.
Although the average person spends over $100 on Valentine’s Day, people typically do not buy extraordinarily expensive things.
“People often ask me, Christmas or Valentine’s Day? Christmas, duh,” said Alexandra Pohorecka, sales manager of Marks Jewelers, about what holiday is most popular.
When shoppers come to the store looking for a Valentine’s Day gift, they typically want to look at lower-priced jewelry, said Pohorecka.
“We don’t really do a lot for Valentine’s Day,” Pohorecka said. “It’s not that big.”
However, Owens Flower Shop began preparing a month before the big day with deciding what specials they were going to have and ordering the flowers, according to Spacek. The flowers are received a week before Valentine’s Day.
Owens Flower Shop advertises its specials through social media, as well as print. Spacek then hires extra staff for the week to help with flower processing, designing the arrangements and deliveries.
“We put in quite a few extra hours but it’s all worth it,” Spacek said.
A dominant challenge local business owner’s face is many customers shopping online instead of coming into local stores to shop.
“I think more and more people are realizing that shopping local is better,” Spacek said. “They get to speak to an actual person who is in the shop who knows what product is available.”
Owens Flower Shop employees always bring to their customer’s attention that if they order through an “order gatherer” (such as 1-800 flowers or ProFlowers) they are not receiving their money’s worth, and the appearance of the flowers may not look like they do online, Spacek said.
“We also let them know that they will end up spending more money on less product and that they usually have to put it together themselves,” Spacek said. “We are able to customize any order and make it special and unique for each person.”
The same goes for the jewelry business, with many more customers buying from Marks Jewelers actual store compared to their online store.
“I personally wouldn’t buy jewelry without seeing it in person,” Pohorecka said. “Especially diamonds.”
Despite many people still partaking in online shopping, the holiday was still a success for Owens Flower Shop.
“It is by far the busiest holiday for us,” Spacek said.