Long-stem rose, thy name is also-ran.
A longest-stem rose is coming to town this Valentine’s Day. At 5 feet tall, the Epic rose is billed as the largest rose available in the world.
“We’re the only ones in metro New York to carry it,” said Kevin Kegan, president of Blossom Flower, which has two stores – at 980 McLean Ave. in Yonkers and 275 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains – and which has ordered 100 of the Ecuador-grown roses.
A dozen will run you $350, although they will also be sold singly for $35. “It’s not cheap, but it makes a big impression,” Kegan said.
Last Valentine’s Day, groups of high-spirited men formed a line that spilled onto the sidewalk outside Murielle Peters-Davis’ flower shop in Yonkers.
“All day long we had a long line of mostly men coming through the door,” said Peters-Davis, co-owner of “Fly Me to the Moon” on North Broadway. “It was our first Valentine’s Day, and we didn’t know what to expect. I got there at 9 a.m. and customers were already walking out with flowers. The thing that made it great is the ambiance of the store that day; people were good-natured and just having a great time.”
Some of those same men have already placed their Valentine’s Day orders for red roses at the shop, but Peters-Davis expects her unique floral arrangements this year will also be a popular choice for non-traditionalists.
“I think that the red rose is sort of overdone,” Peters-Davis said. “At Fly Me to the Moon, people are used to more unusual flowers.”
This year, Peters-Davis is offering customers more variety in Valentine’s Day flower arrangements, including burgundy-colored “black magic” roses and a potted English Ivy in the shape of a heart.
And in addition to flowers, Peters-Davis has creations such as “The Sophisticated Lady,” a pale pink quilted purse full of flowers, and “Tea for Two,” a flower arrangement nestled in a teacup.
But for the traditionalists, Peters-Davis will stock red roses that can be packaged in a large red box with a red ribbon or in a vase.
A dozen roses will be $44.99 at Peters-Davis’ shop on Valentine’s Day, which is twice the price of what they would cost any other time of year.
“That mostly has to do with the fact that the wholesalers charge more,” Peters-Davis said. “Premium roses just double in price, so therefore we have to charge more, but we try to keep it affordable. We want people to be able to give a dozen red roses to their loved one.”
At Flowers by Sutton in New Rochelle, long lines of men are a Valentine’s Day tradition.
“Valentine’s Day makes up a large percentage of the yearly business that we gross, however, it’s only one week, and it really boils down to one day,” said Robert Devivo, the store’s general manager. “Most local florists would see an increase in walk-in sales.”
In addition to flower shops – and chocolate shops, card stores and lingerie retailers – bakeries are a popular destination for Valentine’s Day enthusiasts.
Cecilia Zuniga, co-owner of La Piñata Bakery in Yonkers, said valentine-themed cookies in bear and heart shapes sell well every February.
Personalized heart-shaped cakes also are in high demand.
“A great portion of our business is from walk-ins, but we also have a lot of customized orders for cakes and cupcakes,” Zuniga said.
According to The National Retail Federation’s 2009 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey conducted by BIGresearch, consumers plan to spend an average $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise, down from last year’s $122.98 per person. Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion.
The survey also indicates: Most people will still buy traditional favorites even though they plan to spend less. More than one-third (35.7 percent) will buy flowers, nearly the same as last year’s 35.9 percent; and 16 percent will buy jewelry, compared with16.6 percent in 2008. In addition, more people this year will send greeting cards than they did last year (58.0 percent vs. 56.8 percent in 2008). Others will head to their favorite restaurant (47 percent), purchase clothing (10.2 percent) or give a gift card or gift certificate (11 percent).