CLEVELAND — If you’re one to procrastinate on your Valentine’s Day shopping, this year may be the opportunity to change your ways.
“Get your order in early so we have enough of that product,” said Kimberly Koepp, the manager of Flowerama in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood.
The flower shop’s sales have nearly doubled during the pandemic and it’s now considered one of the chain’s busiest locations in the country.
“[People] can’t see [their loved ones] so they’re sending flowers, they’re sending balloons, candy, plush animals for the children,” Koepp said.
While the pandemic has been a boon for sales, it’s also created challenges seen across numerous industries. Koepp has struggled to fill job openings during an unprecedented labor shortage. She said the flower industry is also feeling the strain of a global supply chain disrupted by congested ports and limited truck drivers.
“It isn’t with getting the kind of flowers we need, it’s when we’re going to get them,” Koepp said. “Everything keeps getting postponed. There was a glass shortage, now we’re getting the backorder. Flowers we’re getting, but we’re getting them later.”
The store, planning for a winter storm forecasted to hit Northeast Ohio this week, stocked its coolers ahead of time and Koepp expects to be able to meet most of the demand around the Valentine’s Day holiday. But she cautions customers looking for specific flowers and arrangements should order before Monday, February 7 to reserve the products or allow time for suitable substitutions.
Additionally, consumers should prepare for higher prices. Koepp said Flowerama is able to keep costs lower because its multiple locations allow for bulk orders, but she anticipates many popular flowers will be up to 25% more expensive than in 2021.
As with matters of the heart, the shop manager explained matters of business also require patience and flexibility.
“We just do what we have to do,” Koepp said. “[It’s] business as usual.”
The store expects close to 1,500 orders in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.
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