The holiday season and summer are the busiest times of year for most businesses. For others, February is particularly sweet.
“Valentine’s Day is a very labor-intensive holiday for us,” Tracy Schultz, owner of Flowers By The Bay, said. “It’s got to be our second biggest holiday of the year just behind Christmas.”
The inside of Flowers By The Bay in Freeland is currently homey, peaceful and aromatic, as one would expect from a florist. Behind the scenes will be a different matter by the end of the week, though. Schultz will have to use a storage unit and pack it to the brim with florals, mostly roses.
The sheer amount of the flowers is too much for the store to hold, and too much for the regular staff to handle.
“I’ll have twice the staff I normally have for the entire week before Valentine’s Day,” Schultz said. “We’ll also most likely be putting six vehicles on the road for deliveries on Monday and Tuesday. We normally have a single driver running deliveries.”
For Schultz and her flower business, Valentine’s Day is a hit. The additional storage unit full of roses has been emptied in previous years. Schultz said the time around Valentine’s Day “probably adds 30 percent growth volume.” The increase in sales has kept them chugging through this time of year for the past 20 Valentine’s Days, despite the long hours the holiday brings with it.
Flowers, a favorite of procrastinating lovers, won’t be the only product they shell out Valentine’s Day cash for. The owners and staff of various sweets businesses on South Whidbey are also swamped with orders and scrambling to check any remaining chores off of their lists. Marie Lincoln, owner of Langley’s Chocolate Flower Farm, said Valentine’s Day is also one of her business’ most fruitful times of year.
“Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas as the busiest time for my business,” Lincoln said. “I’m in the thick of shipping Valentine’s orders for my mail orders, and it’ll continue all week.”
Mona Newbauer, owner of Sweet Mona’s in Langley, went as far to say that February is one of the best months of the year for her business for a variety of reasons, chiefly Valentine’s Day. Mystery Weekend, the Langley event that turns the city into a real-life game of Clue, also lands two weeks later. It’s a welcome month for her in the middle of a relatively dead season for South Whidbey, and she added that she spends much of January preparing for the following month.
The hectic weeks aside, Valentine’s Day is a chance for businesses to get creative with their products. Newbauer particularly is always looking to create new chocolates and sweets for South Whidbey’s sweethearts, with pink and red-colored chocolate bites aplenty. Marshmallow hearts, heart-shapped lollipops and long-stem strawberries will also be sold at Sweet Mona’s. Flowers By The Bay expands their products to include chocolates, balloons and other gifts, and Schultz has employees flex their creative muscle with various arrangements specially made for Valentine’s Day.
But even if the holiday brings with it an influx of stress and cash, these business owners don’t lose sight of what Valentine’s Day is all about.