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Terry Walton, owner of Jeffrey’s Flowers, 5217 Simpson Ferry Road, Mechanicsburg, has many regular customers who never miss placing a Valentine’s Day order.

But there are also the customers who seek his help in planning the perfect once-in-a-lifetime day.

“We’ve done quite a few things over the years,” Walton said. “Last year, we did a proposal at the Hotel Hershey at one of the gazebos.”

He recalled that Hershey was always a favorite destination for the couple.

“They were from out of town, and that was the destination they always liked going to,” Walton said. “The young man called and said, ‘I’d like you to do flowers. I’m going to propose there.’”

Walton said the day went as planned, and he was happy for his role in making it a success.

“It was great to be a part of it,” he said. “We’re the florists for the Hotel Hershey, so we get involved in many things. But that was special. We got to watch from afar.

“Every day there’s something exciting in the florist world.”

Popularity

Walton said that while red roses are the most popular Valentine’s Day flower, orchids are also frequently requested.

“Orchids are very big this year,” he said. “A lot of people like things that are different.”

He said the trend is to mix roses with flowers of other varieties, and to enhance the arrangements with things like balloons, teddy bears and chocolates.

Red roses are also in demand at Royer’s Flowers and Gifts, 100 York Road, Carlisle. Prices for a dozen red roses range between $63 and $75 at area florists for a simple arrangement.

“Roses are definitely the thing we do the most of,” said Liz Mohler, store manager at Royer’s in Carlisle. “Some people liked mixed arrangements, but it’s not even close to roses. Roses are in such demand … (and) red is the most popular color.”

Preparing for the Valentine’s Day rush isn’t an easy task for local florists.

“Valentine’s Day is our biggest day of year,” Mohler said. “Christmas (season) starts after Thanksgiving and goes all the way to Christmas (Day), but Valentine’s Day happens so quick. The rush starts about three days before, and once the 14th gets here, it just kind of happens and then the workload starts to decrease.

“We start planning months in advance. I look at what I used the year before, and I have to hire extra drivers. I have 20 contract drivers scheduled for that day. In store, we don’t really hire additional staff, but everyone is scheduled the whole entire day, and I have two people who help every holiday.”

Mohler said she will have 400 dozen red roses on hand with 150 one-dozen vase arrangements.

Walton said sales are also influenced by the day of the week that Valentine’s Day falls on. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year, he expects an increase in orders.

“It gives people three days — Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — to send flowers,” he said. “Most people prefer to send flowers to the workplace (during the week).

“But it’s our biggest day of the year. … We started planning in January, right after Christmas. We’ve been in full Valentine mode for about a week and a half now. Orders (to suppliers) have to be in (early) for guaranteed products, delivery and best prices. If we wait too long, they’re sold out.”

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