Evanston florists prepare for annual Valentine’s rush

Jessica Floum

Evanston florists have begun greening, de-thorning roses and putting together long-lasting flower arrangements in preparation for Valentine’s Day, which falls on Tuesday this year.

“There’s pretty much like a big line out the door right now,” said Jace Burton, son of the owners of Saville Flowers, 1712 Sherman Ave. He said Saville Flowers anticipates filling up to 700 orders during the Valentine’s Day rush.

Florists across the country can expect more flower orders this year for than in previous years, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. The survey found consumers plan to spend $1.8 billion on flowers this year – $100 million more than in 2011 and $200 million more than in 2010.

“We’re going with the masses, and hopefully we have enough product to make everybody happy,” said Julie Heinz, manager of Preston’s Flowers, 1726 Central St.

Heinz said Preston’s Flowers has about 50 to 75 varieties of flowers and around 1,500 to 2,000 roses.

“The ones that can afford the dozen roses buy the dozen roses, and if they can’t, they buy the lilies,” Heinz said. “It all depends on their price point.”

Both Saville Flowers and Preston’s Flowers prepared for additional deliveries on Valentine’s Day by hiring more drivers for Tuesday. Saville increased its staff from one to three and Preston’s brought on four additional drivers, increasing its force from one to five.

Jennifer Sparks, vice president of marketing for the Society of American Florists, told The Washington Post that flower sales are higher when Valentine’s Day falls during the work week.

“There are a lot of office deliveries when the holiday falls during the week,” Sparks said in the article published Sunday. “People want to impress their Valentine at work, when they can’t be with them.”

Heinz said Preston’s Flowers tries maximize convenience for its customers by allowing them to order on its website.

“People can do it at their leisure,” Heinz said. “They can see the catalogue. It specifically impacts the business.”

Florists have also increased the convenience of sales by joining wire services such Teleflora, according to the Washington Post article. Wire services takes orders via the phone and Internet. Local florists within their network are then contacted to fill the orders . The services charge 20 percent on commissions, the article said.

At least four florists in Evanston are Teleflora florists, Heinz said.

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