Patterson’s Flowers prepared for demand of Valentine’s Day

Cheryl Mast, of Lowell, works on a flower arrangement Tuesday at Patterson’s Flowers in Big Rapids. Mast is one of a handful of extra staff on hand to help with the volume of orders for Valentine’s Day. (Pioneer photo/Brandon Fountain)

BIG RAPIDS — The snow may be blustering and the wind may be piercing, but love is still in the air.

As couples and admirers have anticipated Valentine’s Day with thoughts and plans of fine chocolates, flowers and jewelry, staff at Patterson’s Flowers in Big Rapids and Reed City have been bustling for the last few days preparing for Thursday.

Planning for the celebrated holiday of romance and romantic love began months ago, said florist and owner Bob Patterson on Tuesday.

Patterson’s Flowers in Big Rapids is all decked out in hearts and sentiments of Valentine’s Day. Staff and floral designers have worked the last several days to prepare for the romantic holiday. (Pioneer photo/Brandon Fountain)

“We start planning our orders for the flowers and plush animals we’ll need for Valentine’s Day in the fall,” he said. “In November and December, we confirm our orders for the fresh flowers with our vendors, so those who are growing the flowers know how much they will need to grow.”

Preparing for the day, Patterson said, also includes knowing how many additional staff and floral designers will be needed at each location in the days prior to Valentine’s Day.

“It’s safe to say Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for us,” he said. “Everyone gets really excited for that one day. It’s a stressful time, but it’s fun to see it all come together.”

As a second-generation florist, Patterson is working his 40th Valentine’s Day this year.

While people’s traditional favorites — flowers, candy, balloons, etc. — haven’t changed too much over the years, their ways of finding deals and shopping have, Patterson said.

“There’s been changes in retail with the internet and social media and how people shop,” he said. “They are able to look at what they want and work with whomever they can to get the flowers they need, whether it’s local or long-distance.

“E-commerce has changed how everyone buys things, even flowers now. But we keep on top of that and make sure we’re ready for anything.”

Providing customers with the exact arrangement they want for their loved one is essential, Patterson said, because of the meaning of the day.

“Roses are still the big flower for the day,” he said. “It’s like the international language of love. There are so many pretty colors to choose from, but there are other flowers out there too which people really like.

“Flowers are an affordable way to show someone how much you care. You can spend $30 on a dozen roses or $80, it just depends on how you want them arranged.”

While some admirers, spouses and significant others already have pre-ordered their arrangements and are all set, Patterson said there will always be folks who wait until Valentine’s Day to walk through the door to place an order.

“We understand there are those who wait until the last minute,” he said. “We come in and are ready for that sort of thing, and try to keep up with whatever they want for their arrangement. We are prepared to see how it plays out and go with it. It’s all about planning and preparing and being ready.”

Additional staff members traveled up to a couple hours to help complete a variety of Valentine’s Day arrangements, snowstorms and bad weather make Patterson a little nervous.

“It will cut down on our sales today,” he said. “If schools are closed, it means people might be rerouted to get home. It also means people won’t be coming until later or tomorrow if they want to order flowers and that’s something we have to be prepared for.

“I’m hoping for good weather on Thursday, so our drivers get everywhere they need to so they can deliver the flowers in a timely manner.”

Lisa Voelker works on a rose arrangement Tuesday morning at Patterson’s Flowers in Big Rapids. Staff and floral designers have spent the last several days gearing up for Valentine’s Day on Thursday. (Pioneer photo/Brandon Fountain)

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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