Florist and her team navigate their way through Valentine’s weekend
When it comes to saying “I love you,” red roses are still the favorite.
Just ask flower shop owner Nancy Gray.
“We order anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 red roses,” Gray said, in anticipation of orders that will come in for Valentine’s Day.
To make sure those orders are met, Gray, who is the owner of Helen’s Florist on Mission Park Drive, said all their “specialty flowers” have to be made three weeks in advance.
This year, due to the pandemic, Gray said she took into account the likelihood more people would be buying flowers for Valentine’s Day when making her order.
“More people are staying in this year,” Gray said, as opposed to going out for a romantic dinner or trip. As a result, they are expressing their sentiments with flowers.
Gray, who has grown up surrounded by flowers — her parents Bobby and Mary Helen Temple opened the business, which was first located on Washington Street more than 50 years ago — said the second-most popular order after red roses is an arrangement of spring flowers.
Helen’s Florist also offers goody baskets and stuffed teddy bears for orders sent to children, as well as oversized balloons, chocolate-covered strawberries and sugar cookies.
With Valentine’s Day being the busiest day of the year for florists, Gray said a large refrigerated truck was brought in earlier in the week to keep the flowers fresh until delivery. Extra workers were also hired.
“We have extras help with design, to make deliveries, and some are out front (at the register) to take orders that come in at the last minute,” she said.
However, because of COVID-19, Gray said, this year most of their orders have been made at their drive-thru window. Customers are also using the drive-thru to pick up orders.
“This allows us to be hands-free and safe,” she said.
And when deliveries are made to someone’s home, social distancing is also practiced.
“We will call our customers and tell them that we are there and will set the flowers or gifts at the front door or wherever they would like,” Gray said. “So we are not making contact.”
Valentine’s Day preparation calls for long days and nights — especially in years when it doesn’t fall on a weekend.
Fortunately, because Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday this year, Gray said that workplace deliveries were made Friday. Deliveries were also scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
While it might seem odd for anyone who works in a flower shop to ever want flowers, Gray said that is not the case.
“We are like everyone else. It is nice to receive flowers. It makes it special,” she said.
With the last delivery scheduled for Sunday, it would seem plausible Gray and her employees would head directly home to put their feet up on the sofa and relax.
But, this local flower shop owner had other plans.
“While we still have energy, we will clean up and try to get things back to normal for Monday, because we will have Monday orders for those people who forgot,” Gray said.
This article is part of a series by The Vicksburg Post, in partnership with the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce,... read more