Blooming Affair Floral and Gifts in downtown Merced had a full house on Friday as people dropped in throughout the day to place floral arrangement orders for their significant others. The shop’s phone and online ordering systems were just as busy.
Valentine’s Day and the days leading up to it are some of the busiest for Merced flower and gift shops.
According to Celeste Rohrback of Blooming Affair, Valentine’s Day is one of the most hectic days of the year in the shop, challenged only slightly by Mother’s Day.
Rohrback said that although business was steady all week, there are always customers who wait till the last minute. When employees start getting swamped, shop owner Terry Vargas brings in extra help to assist with deliveries, Rohrback said.
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As tradition has it, the most popular arrangement ordered is a dozen long-stemmed roses, she added. This arrangement runs for $89, but more affordable assortments are also available. She recommends adding a stuffed animal or a jewelry piece, also found at the shop, for an extra touch.
Lety Rico, owner of Lety’s Decorations and Gift shop in downtown Merced, said that for her business, no other holiday compares in sales to Valentine’s Day. Although her store specializes in party decorations, during this time of year, she also brings in roses, stuffed animals and chocolate baskets.
This year, Rico took a different approach in advertising her Valentine’s Day sale. She posted photos of her flower arrangements through her store’s Instagram account. Based on the followers’ response, she decided which merchandise she’d invest more in.
Rico, who also places an outdoor stand in Planada, has profited from Valentine’s Day sales for 15 years. She said when the holiday falls on a Saturday, like this year, her sales usually do better. “Maybe because more people are out on the weekend, but it gets pretty busy in here,” she said. “This beautiful weather also helps.”
What she recommends to customers depends on who they are buying a gift for. She and her employees can arrange gift baskets for spouses, friends and parents – “all the people you love,” she said.
Valentine’s Day is also famous for being the date of many engagements. Fran Peraino, owner of Peraino’s Jewelers on North G St., said diamonds tend to be popular on this date. “Diamonds go with everything, and it’s something women can wear all the time,” Peraino said.
Although the jewelry business does pick up during Valentine’s Day mainly because of the store’s advertised sales, Peraino said Christmas is still the most popular holiday for her business.
The jewelry store also has an adjoining gift shop for those looking for something different, including collectables.
For romantics on the go, stands posted outside businesses with a variety of gift arrangements can be found throughout the city.
Sun-Star staff writer Ana B. Ibarra can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.