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Chocolates and Roses: Local businesses love Valentine’s Day

Heather Artushin • Feb 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Local business owners are working overtime to make Valentine’s Day a special one.

There was a flurry of activity at Grand Haven Garden House and Floral recently as owner Kathy Kwekel and her staff filled orders and prepared countless bouquets and arrangements designed to impress customers and their sweethearts.

“We sell probably close to 900 roses in red and colors,” Kwekel explained. “The busiest Valentine’s Days for us are Monday through Friday. When it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, people will go on vacation or go out to dinner, so last year was not good at all. Last year was on a Sunday. We’re hoping for a much, much better year this year.”

Because the romantic holiday lands on a weekday this year, Kwekel and her team are handling a large number of deliveries, many to local businesses, and some to local schools.

“We do single gerbera daisy or rose bud vases for the schools,” Kwekel said. “Parents will call and have flowers delivered to their children. So we have balloons and bears and candy, and we have bud vases just for that right price range.”

For lovers looking for something outside-of- the-box, Kwekel has buckets of flowers on display for creative shoppers to create their own personalized bouquet.

“A lot of guys are getting away from the roses, which are not as long lasting,” she said. “And (they are) getting into more of the spring mixes and tropicals, which are more reasonable. 

Kwekel said tulips and any of the spring flowers such as daisies and gerbera daisies are more the spring direction. Calla lilies and hybrid lilies are great higher-end flowers, she said. The tropical arrangements such as birds of paradise… are advertised to “pretend you’re on a getaway on an exotic island.”

Chocolate lovers can check out Patricia’s Chocolates on Washington Avenue in downtown Grand Haven where Patty Christopher and her team are busy hand making the goodies from scratch. 

“(Valentine’s Day) is our second busiest holiday, other than Christmas time,” Christopher said. “We have over 50 different types of individual chocolates, and we sell about 150 each of them.”

Customers can chose from bright, sweet fruit flavors like Passion Fruit Mango and Michigan Blueberry, to Patty’s artisan tea collection, including chocolates like Creamy Earl Grey and Bumble Blossom Oolong, to unique offerings using local honey or heirloom apples.

 Everything at Patricia’s Chocolates is thoughtful, local and has a story to tell, the owner says.

“Fortunato No. 4, our Peruvian chocolate, it’s 68 percent, is probably our most popular,” Christopher said. “I have one that is Michigan Dried Cherry made with cherry brandy from Black Star Farms that’s also very popular.”

For the coffee lover, chocolates like Arabiea & Espresso are a treat.

“I use Aldea Coffee. They have five farmers from Honduras that they get the beans from when they do their own roasting, she said. “And I use the beans from the only female farmer. She grows a small bean. It’s a dark roast and it makes a really nice ganache.”

What does Valentine’s Day look like at Patricia’s Chocolates?

“We make chocolate all the time,” she said. “Everything is from scratch. We decorate the store to make sure the shop looks like it should for Valentine’s Day.”

At Grand Haven Garden House and Floral:

• Average cost of bouquet of roses at Valentine’s Day: $95

• Approximate number of roses sold each Valentine’s Day: 900

• Number of deliveries expected on Tuesday: several hundred

At Patricia’s Chocolates:

• Number of chocolate varieties to choose from: 50-plus

• Approximate number of chocolates sold for Valentine’s Day: 7,500

• Average cost of chocolates for Valentine’s Day: $15-35

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