Flowers are synonymous with Valentine’s Day, and florists throughout Bryan-College Station have spent months preparing for today.
“This is our Super Bowl,” said Tricia Barksdale, owner of Tricia Barksdale Designs. “It’s our big event for the year.”
At Petal Patch Florist, the orders have been coming in for about a month. In advance of Valentine’s Day, office manager Courtney Logan said, the shop ordered thousands of roses to meet the demand.
University Flowers brings in a refrigerated semi-truck trailer to store the excess flowers needed for Valentine’s Day. This year, the store ordered 2,200 red roses in addition to about 1,000 roses in other colors, designer Angela Gabriel said.
To handle the extra business, University Flowers increases its staff by five-fold with a lot of temporary employees, especially delivery drivers, Gabriel said.
The Farm Patch Market handles the main store plus two tents set up just for Valentine’s Day with cut flower arrangements, potted plants and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Although potted plants are becoming more popular, the strawberries and cut flowers are still a staple, with imported Swiss chocolate and between 4,000-5,000 red roses purchased for the holiday, manager Molly Hagan-Ward said.
Pat Tippitt, owner of Nan’s Blossom Shop, called it a love-hate relationship with the flower-heavy holiday.
“We love it, but it just about kills us getting things ready for people,” she said. “But, we love to help them express their emotions.”
Barksdale said even though it is a lot of work, it is gratifying to make somebody’s day.
When someone comes in to get Valentine’s Day flowers, she said, she reminds them that it is not just for sweethearts.
“I think my favorite part is encouraging dads to give flowers to their little girls,” she said. “I always tell them the first flowers a girl should get should come from her dad, and that sets a great standard of other future men that would be a part of her life.”
Barksdale also wants people to remember that flowers can be for friends and for people who might be forgotten, such as widows who might think they will not get Valentine’s Day flowers again.
“It’s not just a sweetheart thing,” she said. “Think of others.”
Students enrolled in high school floral design classes in Bryan and College Station schools put together their own arrangements in honor of the holiday. As part of the projects, the teachers make sure the students understand the pressure and hectic nature of a flower shop during Valentine’s.
“We talk to the kids really about how Valentine’s Day can make or break you as a floral shop,” Rudder High School floral design teacher Michelle Knox said. “We have some statistics they search through, and they realize that flowers [are] the number one gift given on Valentine’s Day.”
Knox tries to mimic how hectic it can be as a florist during Valentine’s Day by creating strict deadlines for her students. While her students do one project per holiday, she said, the students have to create two in one week for Valentine’s Day. The students work with both flowers and chocolates to create their projects.
Due to the price of flowers around Valentine’s Day, though, Knox’s students rarely use roses. This year, her students created floral ladybugs using a base of carnations.
Knox’s favorite thing about the Valentine’s Day projects is how the students buy in because it gives them a gift they can give to their friends or family members.
“It’s a little different than making an arrangement for something like St. Patrick’s Day where they’re not necessarily gifting it somebody, but rather setting it on their tables,” she said. “They kind of buy in a little bit differently.”
Rebecca Luna, floral design teacher at A&M Consolidated High School, takes pre-orders from parents and community members, and her advanced floral design students create the arrangements.
Her younger classes then create edible arrangements, she said.
Even though not all of her students will have careers in floral design, Luna said, she wants her students to learn how intense the profession can be and how to work with customers.
“It’s also a very labor-intensive, hands-on demanding job if you’re cranking out arrangements all day long. It is more labor intensive than they realize,” she said, noting professionals do not finish when they complete just one arrangement a day. “I just hope that they get some kind of interpersonal skills and learn how to work with people — customer service — because no matter what you do you’re going to be in the customer service industry in some form or fashion.”