Friday the 13th is a day typically associated with bad luck and mis-fortune. However, Friday the 13th doesn’t usually precede Valentine’s Day. So far, B/A Florist in East Lansing hasn’t run into much ill fortune this Valentine’s season.
PREPPING FOR THE VALENTINE’S RUSH
Shop Owner Barb Hollowick described the atmosphere of the store the week before Valentine’s Day as hectic but fun. Business gets so hectic this time of year that Hollowick remarked the phones were ringing off the hook all week, and that by mid-day, the line to enter the shop would be out the door. In order to deal with the boom in business, Hollowick enlisted seasonal help to deal with the amount of orders.
As for assembling the orders, the first step in prepping the flowers is “tubing.” This process involves de-stemming and de-thorning the flower. After the excess has been trimmed off the flower, a small vial of water is hooked onto the bottom of the stem to keep the flower as fresh as possible.
Following tubing, the flowers are placed in large buckets until they are ready to be processed. Processing the flowers is the method of taking a customer’s order, finding the right flowers, and wrapping the flowers to be ready for purchase.
Most people will say that roses are the typical Valentine’s Day flower, and sales for the B/A shop support that. As Hollowick says, “Roses send the message that I love you, so it’s the most popular flower.”
For flower enthusiasts not blessed with a green thumb, B/A also provides tips for flower care for customers so they can get the most out of their Valentine’s Day bouquet.
Despite the hectic pace of the Valentine’s Day rush, thanks to her staff, Hollowick says that everything has gone smoothly this season.
HISTORY OF BA FLORIST
According to B/A website, the B/A Florist shop has been an established business in the East Lansing area for over 25 years. Located on the corner of Hagadorn and Grand River, the BA Florist shop is housed within a 1920’s era home. Entering the shop, it’s hard not to notice the creek of the old wood floors under your feet, the ornate antique fireplace, or the intricate wooden carvings found throughout the store.
A trip to the shop feels more like a trip to a quaint country store then a business in the heart of a college town, and that at home feeling is not lost on the customers. B/A has been the recipient of multiple People’s Choice Awards for Best Floral Shop in the last 25 years. Long time customer Art Falk keeps coming back because he recognizes that, “…they’re just so creative. B/A knows what they’re doing and it’s a pretty special place to shop.”
HISTORY OF VALENTINE’S DAY
According to the National Geographic website, Valentine’s Day has its roots in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia. During the holiday, Roman men would strip naked, grab goat or dog skin whips, and spank naked woman in order to increase their fertility. Obviously the holiday has come a long way since then, and National Geographic attributes the shift to Roman Emperor Constantine declaring Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in 311.
As the Christians slowly realized they could not stop the Lupercalia festival, they decided to change it to a Christian festival and pin the legend of St. Valentine to it. The legend tells that in the third century, Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade men to marry. St. Valentine decided to marry couples in secret, and was executed for it when he was discovered in the year 270.
Now back to the present. The U.S. National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend an estimated $14.7 billion for Valentine’s Day, with the average consumer spending about $102.50 on Valentine’s Day purchases.
According to the NRF survey, greeting cards are the most popular Valentine’s Day purchase with 58% percent of people surveyed answering that they planned on sending at least one Valentine’s Day card. The Greeting Card Association estimates that 190 million Valentine’s Day cards will be sent this holiday.
Although the projected sales are slightly down from last year’s numbers, recent economic struggles don’t seem to affect buyer’s Valentine’s Day habits too much. After all, $14.7 billion can buy a lot of heart shaped candy.
LOCAL FLOWER SHOPS
For all those procrastinators out there looking for a close flower shop for last minute Valentine’s Day gifts, check out this map of flower shops in the MSU area. View Larger Map