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‘Men are last minute. They just are.’ Businesses bustle on Valentine’s Day

  • Melissa Sadoski of Sunderland dips a huge ripe strawberry in dark chocolate at Richardson's Candy Kitchen in Deerfield on Valentiens Day. It is a process that was repedated 2,000 times in the last two days for the holiday. February 14, 2018. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Beth Wright and owner Kathie Williams package some of the 2,000 chocolate dipped strawberries they will well at Richardson's Candy Kitchen in Deerfield for Valentines Day. February 14, 2018. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Dark chocolate dipped strawberries at Richardson's Candy Kitchen in Deerfield for Valentines Day. February 14, 2018. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz...

  • Richardson's Candy Kitchen in Deerfield is always busy on Valentines Day. February 14, 2018. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Richardson's Candy Kitchen in Deerfield is always busy on Valentines Day with their chocolate covered strawberries. February 14, 2018. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz...

  • A dark chocolate dipped strawberry at Richardson's Candy Kitchen in Deerfield for Valentines Day. February 14, 2018. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz...



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

GREENFIELD — For florists, chocolatiers and business owners, Valentine’s Day can bring a whirlwind.

“This is our Super Bowl,” said Heather Reloj, a florist and co-owner at Greenfield’s Sigda Flowers and Gifts.

Sigda was one of many businesses Wednesday with a constant stream of customers and hardly a vacant space in the parking lot, where last-minute shoppers packed their vans with bouquets of roses.

Sigda’s staff, who had worked until 9 p.m. the night before, smiled at the patrons, but could not hide their weary expressions or the bags under their eyes.

“You can tell every man on the planet to call six days in advance,” said Reloj, scurrying about her store. All around her, florists were putting together arrangements to be personally delivered throughout town.

At Richardson’s Candy Kitchen in Deerfield, police had been directing afternoon traffic in and out of the small parking area for the last two days.

According to owner Kathie Williams, Feb. 13 and 14 are the busiest days of each year, and it’s been that way since 1983 when her family first bought the business.

“This store will be full all day,” Williams said. “Everything lands on these days, and it’s all last minute.”

Like Sigda, Richardson’s relies on a bolstered staff and extended hours for a successful Valentine’s Day, staying open until 7 p.m. instead of the usual 5:30 p.m. According to Williams, nearly the entire staff comes in on this day.

Even the week before Valentine’s Day, Richardson’s normally gets a rush of mail orders, requiring some planning to get the right sweets to the right people at the right time.

“It’s exhausting, but it’s fun,” Williams said.

The labor is an extra cost, indeed, but it’s more than paid for by the hundreds of people visiting Richardson’s in a day to get their homemade chocolate-covered strawberries and other confections.

Plus, business owners like Williams enjoy Valentine’s Day — not just because of the increased profits, but also because of the atmosphere.

“Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday,” Williams said. “People are just happy. We do the hearts, boxes, all of it.”

Out of the roughly 50 people crowded around Richardson’s counter Wednesday, nearly all were men. According to Williams, the stereotype of the last-minute male buying gifts is an accurate one. She’s noticed it over the last few decades.

“Typically, it’s all women in the store,” Williams said. “But today is the one day the demographics really change.”

Becky Guyer, owner of Floral Affairs in Greenfield, has noticed the same pattern in her 20 years in the business.

“It’s a lot of men,” said Guyer, and her staff all laughed.

Many of the men who come in looking for flowers on Valentine’s Day don’t exactly know what they are looking for, Guyer said, and they require the florists’ skills to help them choose a flattering arrangement.

“Men are typically last-minute, so we try and educate,” Guyer said.

In the end, a traditional set of red roses will suit most, Guyer said, but she still has fun coming up with creative bouquets she thinks will make someone else happy. To achieve that goal, Guyer and her staff work longer shifts on Valentine’s Day and the days leading up.

“I love it,” Guyer said. “It’s celebrating love.”

At Cleary Jewelers, owner Kerry Semaski has to open the store earlier and stay open later during the Valentine’s Day season so customers have the opportunity to buy jewelry before or after work. She echoes her fellow business owners’ sentiments about boyfriends and husbands.

“It’s lots of last-minute. Men are last minute. They just are,” Semaski said.

Semaski enjoys Valentine’s Day shoppers. As a jeweler, seeing someone’s face light up with joy when finding the right gift is the highlight of her day.

“We love it,” Semaski said. “Everyone is excited to give gifts. And they’re truly wanting to buy a gift. It’s not because they have to.”