Valentine’s shopping second to Christmas shopping

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    By AARON HUFF

    Local florists are not the only ones expecting business to blossom this Valentine’s Day.

    Florists, candy retailers and sentimental gift stores are expecting business to increase at least tenfold Monday mainly due to last-minute shoppers. Restaurants in Provo and Orem anticipate long waiting lines.

    Some businesses say Valentine’s Day business is second only to Christmas and Mother’s Day.

    “We only sell more flowers on Mother’s Day because everybody has a mother, but nearly everybody has a sweetheart,” said Evelynn Obrien, an employee of Jeppson’s Floral, 205 West 400 N., Provo.

    Long-stemmed roses by the dozen are the most popular item, but stargazer lilies and valentine bouquets are also very popular, Obrien said.

    Jeppson’s manager, Paula Christensen, said $25 arrangements with spring flowers like carnations and daisies are also very popular.

    Planning on taking your sweetheart out to eat Monday evening? Provo and Orem’s popular steakhouses, such as Ruby River, 1454 S. University Ave., Carvers, 672 S. State, Orem, and the Macaroni Grill, 4801 N. University Ave., anticipate a waiting list of up to two hours. Los Hermanos, 10 W. Center, Provo, anticipates a one-hour wait.

    Second to none, Valentine’s Day is the biggest retail event for Campus Craft and Floral, 1021 WSC, said employee Michelle Virtue.

    The BYU Bookstore sells more gift items during Valentine’s Day than any other holiday, but overall Valentine’s Day is the third largest holiday in terms of sales, said Gordon Brown, general merchandise manager of specialty items.

    The Bookstore will sell flowers from Campus Craft and Floral in addition to their specialty Valentine chocolates, he said.

    Brown thinks business this year could be even better if Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday or Saturday rather than a Monday. Although Monday will be a great sales day, he said, he doubts sales will increase very much over the weekend because people will procrastinate.

    Valentine’s Day is especially healthy for candy retailers. Kelly Smith, manager of Kara’s Chocolates in the University Mall, said business will increase as much as 50 times above an average day’s sales.

    Sales should begin to pick up over the weekend and culminate on Monday, she said. The most popular item, she said, is the chocolate covered strawberries.

    See’s Candies assistant manager Linda Smoot said only Christmas is a bigger retail holiday. She expects to see more business this year than last year because Valentine’s Day is on Monday.

    “We’ll see a lot of procrastinators coming in,” she said.

    Cathy Carleoon, manager of the Halmark in the Provo Towne Centre Mall, said Valentine’s Day is second only to Mother’s Day in sales. In addition to cards, balloons and candy will be the most popular items, she said.

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