Merchants may exhale a sigh of relief knowing that consumers are expected to spend $17.3 billion on Valentine's Day-related items this year, up 12 percent from 2013, according to the National Retail Federation.
Close to 40 percent of Americans will give flowers — and Skeeter Parkhouse, manager of the Eastern Floral shop in Grand Haven, is ready for them.
“We have around 1,500 long-stem roses in assorted colors, mainly red,” he said over the sound of stems being snipped.
That’s about 10 times the number of roses the store sells in an ordinary week.
To keep up with demand, Parkhouse is storing arrangements in a 53-foot-long temperature-controlled semi-trailer behind the store. He hired extra drivers to keep up with the scheduled 400-plus deliveries this week.
“This is our No. 1 (holiday) and it’s all within a week period,” Parkhouse said. “That’s why we have to get really organized ahead of time.”
While Parkhouse and his staff pre-plan, apparently many male jewelry shoppers do not, according to John Morgan, owner of J. Morgan Ltd. Fine Jewelers in downtown Grand Haven.
“Usually, us guys don’t like to shop until the day of, if we can help it,” he said. “I don’t see women spending anything. Frankly, the girls have it figured out. Valentine’s is a day for them, not for the guys — but the guys always wait until the last minute.”
A typical male Valentine's Day shopper, according to Morgan:
“They come trudging into the store with their heads hanging down, with this hang-dog look about them,” he said. “They’ll hand you their wallet and hope it’s over quickly. It’s much more a demographic that needs advice and support. The females come in with lots of ideas and would be happy to shop for several hours. It’s comical to watch.”
Morgan said he steers reluctant romantics to popular items such as diamond pendants and earrings, heart charms and pendants, and selections with garnet, ruby and amethyst stones.
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