Merchants loving holiday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 14, 2009

Local merchants aren’t doing much complaining about Valentine’s Day — especially not that the fact the holiday falls on a Saturday and certainly not about the extra workload.

Proprietors of the holiday’s two major retail markets — flowers and jewelry — were glad to see the “extra shopping” happening in Covington County.

“Typically, we see a two or three-day shopping period for Valentine’s Day,” said Chris Lawrence of Christopher’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry. “With the holiday falling on a Saturday, that gives (retailers) a little longer and for us, that’s good. Business has been up, too — which is surprisingly good. We expected it to be down, but we’re seeing more people come in.”

Lawrence said he is selling “as many rings and earrings as pendants, but it’s mostly anything that’s heart shaped. That’s always a Valentine’s Day favorite.”

Fellow jeweler Donnie Sanders of Sanders’ Fine Jewelry agreed with Lawrence about the extra shopping day.

“The big plus, too, is that Friday is payday for most people,” Sanders said. “And that’s a big part of (sales) — how it falls in relation to the holiday.”

Sanders said his business has also been very good.

“The local people have really come out and supported us with this holiday,” he said. “Business is good.”

He credits that to the new addition of an engraving system that allows photo images to be scanned in and then engraved onto a selection of pendants.

“And we can put sayings like ‘I love you’ on it,” he said. “Right there while you wait too.”

Local florists expect high demand on what they call their busiest day of the year.

Alan Cotton of Alan Cotton’s Florist said the Saturday holiday day didn’t impact his business, since the majority of his customers placed orders for Friday.

“A lot of people are traveling out of town on Saturday to celebrate, so they wanted their flowers delivered on Friday,” he said. “We do have some for Saturday, though.”

When asked what customers were buying, he said a new trend has emerged among local shoppers.

“We sold quite a few red roses this year, but our biggest seller is the sherbet colored roses — pink and green and orange and green,” Cotton said. “They’re really gorgeous.”

Cotton said he had six or seven delivery people working Friday and six more working on the floor.

“Valentine’s Day is always good to us,” he said. “Just like the people here.”

At Andalusia Flower and Gift, which is owned by Susan and Clif Sowell, Corey Sowell said staff members were working extra hours to make sure orders were filled.

“It’s very busy around here,” she said. “Business is good too. We’ve got two delivery vans going all over the place — Red Level, River Falls, Babbie, Sanford, Pleasant Home and Straughn.

“So we’re definitely working,” she said.