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Costs nip Valentine's profits in the bud

Business blossoms, but florists struggle to break even

POSTED: February 14, 2012 1:03 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Allison Honeycutt arranges red roses in a vase at Alene's Flower Cottage on Monday afternoon as she and rest of the flower shop's employees keep busy preparing for a very busy Tuesday.

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Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for florists, second only to Mother's Day.

In spite of the increase in business, local florists say they barely break even on the holiday's flower sales.

"It's not a money-making holiday. It's more of a service we provide for our customers," Corinila Hutson, owner of Alene's Flower Cottage in Gainesville, said.

Hutson said the reasons the holiday doesn't make money are because so much more money has to be spent to keep up with the demand.

"Time is money when you're paying people an hourly wage," Freda Elliot, owner of Cleveland Florist in Cleveland, said.

Elliot said the inflated flower costs, overtime hours and gas prices make the holiday difficult to keep up with.

The average American is expected to spend nearly $126 on their Valentine and on other holiday-related items this year, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. That's the highest amount in the survey's 10-year history.

Despite the increase in average spending, Elliot said the orders haven't been coming in as often as they have in previous years.

Both Hutson and Elliot said they've been very busy over the weekend but expect to see a lot of walk-in customers today, up until closing time.

"It's exciting of course, but it's a zoo," Elliot said.

 



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