The rush before the romance
Based on the outlook of local business owners, there's going to be a lot of happy men and women come Valentine's Day.
Area florists, jewelers and bakers were hard at work in preparation for Thursday, and many said Valentine's Day is one of their busiest times of the year.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Four Seasons Florist employee Cole McRae said the entire store has worked extra hard to prepare for the increased demand for flowers.
"I've been working here for three years, and Valentine's Day is always very similar," he said. "I notice there are lots of late orders, and that means more work for us in less amount of time. But it's fine because we feel like a family here."
Eddie Baker, owner of Floral Designs by Eddie, said much of the prep work is getting vases and bows in order and making sure drivers are lined up to make deliveries.
"All of the employees do great," Baker said. "They have been doing it for a while, and they get used to it. They know what to expect the day of."
Edward Coggins, owner of Ted's Flower Basket, joked that his employees live for the mad dash on Valentine's Day when, mostly men, come in looking for a last-minute present.
"Valentine's is our single busiest day of the year," he said. "We've gotten more advance orders than we have had in the past. Everybody loves it."
Coggins has a 53-foot refrigerated truck to store all of the extra flowers that are ordered in the weeks and days leading up to Valentine's Day. Many of the employees work in the back section of the store, creating bows or arranging roses to be sold Thursday.
This will be the first Valentine's Day in business for Dandalia Bakery & Coffee House Owner Mykal Harp, but already, the demand has been up for the store's mini cupcakes.
"We have wonderful heart tins we can put them in, and they look like the little heart candies," Harp said. "It's a nice little twist on the tradition."
Harp and her employees are expecting many last-minute shoppers on Valentine's Day and are getting ready for the increased demand, she said.
Southern Jewelers Owner Lora Wright said she's had a great turnout so far, but she is also expecting last-minute shoppers looking for a gift.
"Men, and I love them, come in those last couple of days, or the day of, for a present," Wright said. "But I have had a few early shoppers that I am proud of this year."
She said she's not sure how many customers the store has on Valentine's Day, but traffic is consistent enough for staff to stay busy the entire day.
"It has been really, surprisingly good so far," Wright said. "We are going to have some happy women this year."