Area stores seeing green on Valentine's Day

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 13, 2013 

With an explosion of everything red, pink and heart-shaped — love is the air this time of year.

But several Merced shops are hoping to see another color this Valentine's Day — green. From flower shops to jewelry stores, many area businesses are gearing up for the universal day of love.

"Business has been very busy, and with Valentine's Day, it's probably about 10 times busier than a normal day," said Trish Mattos, owner of Merced Floral.

The flower shop, which has been in business for 84 years, will deliver about 300 flower arrangements today. "We expect to sell out of everything. We do almost every year," Mattos said.

But fear not, procrastinators — the local shop will accommodate those last-minute requests.

"I consider it Valentine's week, so even having flowers delivered the day after is appropriate," Mattos said. "And we do our best to accommodate everyone's needs."

The best-selling arrangement is usually a dozen roses, but Mattos said this year's flower trends include red, pink and white lilies, daisies and carnations.

But Valentine's Day isn't just about lovers anymore.

"We see a lot of women buying for their mothers, grandmothers and sisters," Mattos said.

She added that this year's sales should surpass last year's because the holiday lands on a day open to businesses and schools -- and many people enjoy surprising their loved ones with flowers at work or school.

But not all flower companies are built the same, Mattos said, and online flower "wire" services, such as 1-800-Flowers, charge a service fee, but still use local florists for delivery.

"It's such a better deal if customers call the floral (shop) directly," Mattos said. "You get a better value and personal service."

It's been said that nothing goes better with a bouquet of flowers than a shiny diamond.

Anna Govea, store manager of Don Roberto Jewelers in the Merced Mall, said her store has stocked up on engagement rings, watches and pendant necklaces.

"Who doesn't like to receive jewelry on Valentine's Day?" Govea said. "You can give chocolates to anybody, but jewelry is more special."

Unlike the past few holidays, the jewelry store's No. 1 customers — men — are shopping earlier this year, although many of them have to "hide the gift" from their partner.

Meanwhile, most female customers have been purchasing watches for the special men in their lives, Govea said.

And while some customers personalize their gifts with engraving, Govea witnessed two men actually pop the big question inside the store.

"A lot of people come in and pick out a ring to propose, and we've seen people put the ring on them," she said.

This year's jewelry trend is colored diamonds — which are more affordable, but still look luxurious, Govea said.

The most popular colors are black and chocolate brown.

Speaking of chocolate, See's Candies Assistant Manager Ted Vilas said the Merced Mall store extended its hours and scheduled a full team today to expedite long lines.

Last year, the line spread all the way down to the J.C. Penney store entrance.

The heart-shaped candy boxes can be customized with a loved one's favorite sweet treats. So far, the best-selling chocolate has been the seasonal strawberry truffle, Vilas said.

See's Candies Brand Manager Natalie Brown said Valentine's Day is the biggest single sales day for the 92-year-old candy company.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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