Local florists expect big Valentine's Day sales amid supply chain issues

Posted at 9:58 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 13:57:46-05

The distance and isolation from others during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a boost in sales for many local florists as people look for ways to send their love across the miles.

However, for some small flower shops, meeting the high demand for arrangements this Valentine's Day could be a challenge.

For over 40 years, Albert's Florist in San Luis Obispo has been helping locals send their love to others in the form of beautiful bouquets.

"When you give flowers to someone, you are giving emotions," said Barkev Abadjain, owner of Albert's Florist.

Valentine's Day is always a big money-making day for florists but in 2021, the demand is abnormally high.

"We are expecting a big, big Valentine's because people are far away from each other and this is the best way to reach other people," Abadjian said.

Huong Hopp owns Back Porch Fresh Flowers in Orcutt and says she has been busy throughout the pandemic.

"With COVID, because people can't see each other, they are sending a lot more flowers and I'm expecting Valentine's Day to kind of reflect the same thing," Hopp told KSBY.

However, the boost in sales isn't all rosy. Abadjian and Hopp say keeping up with demand has been a struggle. One of the main reasons: there's a limited supply of flowers from growers.

"A lot of growers, they stopped their production," Abadjian said. "They didn't plant because they had a lot of product they couldn't sell at the beginning [of the pandemic]."

Plus, growers have faced difficulties with harvesting due to limiting the number of workers in the field to allow for social distancing.

The strained supply-chain may result in more expensive bouquets.

"We try to keep our prices as normal as possible but because of the supply and demand, we do have to make some adjustments," Hopp said.

In the flower shops, keeping six feet apart is impacting the production of floral arrangements too.

"It does make it hard to employ as many people as we used to," Hopp said.

Having fewer employees means more work for just a few sets of hands to fulfill a flood of orders this Valentine's Day.

Additionally, Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday this year. Sundays are typically the slowest day of the week for florists and many are routinely closed on Sundays.

While some florists will stay open this Sunday, Albert's Florist will take the day off. Abadjian asks people to consider sending flowers before or after Valentine's Day.

"Your love is going to say 'Happy Valentine's [Day]' on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, all week long," he said. "No other gift is going to say 'I love you' like a flower."