Valentine's Day means organized chaos for Indiana florists

Posted2/12/2018 7:00 AM

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jamie Sciscoe prepares for this year's Valentine's Day like she has for the past 22 years.

It started two months ago when Sciscoe ordered her flowers in preparation for the busy holiday. On a typical week at Mary M's Walnut House Flowers and Gifts, the shop receives up to 3,000 roses, but this week leading up to and including Valentine's Day, they expect to go through at least 15,000.

"We will all be here all weekend long preparing," Sciscoe said. "We have to stay a day ahead in order to assess how many flowers we have and if we have the manpower to get it all done."

It's organized chaos in the shop on Wednesday morning as a team of four prepare for the influx of orders and flowers that are set to arrive on Friday. Three designers, including Sciscoe, clean, cut and place flower arrangements for funeral orders, before officially beginning Valentine's Day preparation on Friday.

Sciscoe will increase her staff from 4 to 20 people on Valentine's Day. She'll start this weekend preparing the shop by filling the massive flower coolers and completing orders before Wednesday's holiday. Once Valentine's Day comes, five drivers and five "jumpers" will deliver up to 150 orders each all around the Bloomington area. The shop will have a full cooler filled with a variety of flowers and dozens of roses grouped together for walk-in customers for a quick pick-up. Sciscoe expects there to be a line of people winding through the front of the shop while she and her five other designers cut and make bouquets for delivery orders as they come in.

"We will just keep making up dozens of roses as much as possible so that we can use them for orders and be done and ready," she said. "We do call it D-Day, It's our own personal doomsday."

She began working for her family floral shop when she was 15.

Debbie Corcoran, owner of Bloomin' Tons, has also been in the flower business her whole life after her mother and aunt ran flower shops when she was younger in northern Indiana. She admits it's a tough business and not one for the faint of heart.

"I always say somebody has to be crazy to get into this business. It's not for an easy soul," she said Tuesday morning. "Just to make people smile, we have to go through a lot more than people realize."

Like Sciscoe, Corcoran ordered her flowers in December to guarantee that the thousands of variations would arrive on time and fresh. Both Corcoran and Sciscoe receive their flowers from growers in Ecuador and other countries, but there are risks.

"In Quito, Ecuador, the growers' fields are surrounded by three volcanoes," Corcoran said. "They make the most beautiful flowers, but at any given moment, we could go into a flower crisis if there was a volcano eruption."

Sciscoe also mentions that the rise in cost is a factor when working with growers and wholesalers. Mary M's shop price of a dozen roses increases from $8.99 to $24.99 for Valentine's Day due to jumps in price from the growers, she said.

"A lot of people don't know that we are not the ones that are making the price increase - the farms know that this is the time to make money and they literally quadruple the price," she said. "We do get a few people that don't understand that and we try to let people know on the phone that it's not us and that's not our purpose (to gauge prices). We feel bad every year."

Corcoran offers an alternative to flowers for those who have more of a sweet tooth. Boxes of chocolate bars and candy lay on the floor of the floral shop for chocolate bouquets and gift baskets. The gift basket is popular for out of town parents to order for their students, Corcoran said.

Through it all, Corcoran expects to have several 13 hour days leading up to the holiday, but she said it's all worth it in the end.

"Every flower has a story and every person has a story," she said in the midst of her chaotic shop. "The flower brings happiness and I get satisfaction from that."


Source: The (Bloomington) Herald-Times


Information from: The Herald Times,

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