AP NEWS

Florence merchants ready for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. —It’s not too late to get that Valentine’s gift, say merchants in Florence and the surrounding area.

Valentine’s Day is a make-or-break day for some businesses as it is their busiest day of the year. They have planned for it with longer hours and extra help.

Annelle Osborne, owner of Consider the Lilies at 184 W. Evans St. in Florence, has been a florist for over 30 years.

“Valentine’s Day is by far the busiest day of the year,” she said. “We are really busy all week.”

She said the day of the week could determine how busy she will be. She said the first year she moved downtown, three years ago, Valentine’s Day was on a Sunday and wasn’t nearly as busy.

She said men like to send their flowers to the workplace. It shows they are doing their job, and women like others to see their flowers, she said.

The most popular items to give are red roses, Osborne said. That is followed by pink roses or a designer bouquet of flowers.

Osborne estimates that she will send out the door more than 2,500 stems of roses Thursday.

She said other items such as jewelry fragrances, candles, lotions and sugar scrubs are available at Consider the Lilies.

Dulce Vita Café specializes in chocolate, coffee and wine. Its Belgian chocolates are made in house for Valentine’s Day by chocolatier Marvin James, said Ranny Starnes, manager. The chocolates are boxed and pair well with Dulce Vita’s wines, she added.

The store is at 160 S. Dargan St. in downtown Florence.

Valentine’s is also a big day for Mitchell’s Florist in Hartsville.

“Valentine’s and Mother’s Day run neck and neck as our two busiest days,” said owner Mitchell Dampier. And a dozen red roses is the bouquet of choice followed by a mixed assortment of flowers that includes roses, he said.

Dampier said they arrive about 6 a.m. on Valentine’s and stay late but they have a cut-off of noon today for taking orders. Mitchell’s is on College Avenue in Hartsville.

An evening out to dinner also is a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Restaurants will be offering special menus, entertainment and other ways to make the night special.

Victor’s in downtown Florence is offering a limited couple’s menu that includes appetizers and entrees that are not necessarily on the menu and desserts made by Victor’s in-house baker, Betsy Biggs.

Co-executive chef Johnathan Polson said Valentine’s Day is one of their busiest days, right along with New Year’s Eve. These are two nights that people are going out as couples or in groups, he said.

“People are always going to make plans those nights,” he said.

“We try to think outside of the box,” Polson said. “It is easier to do when you have a limited menu. We can focus only on those items and pay more attention to details.”

He said on these nights people are willing to try something different. This year Victors will offer wild boar and monk fish, along with more traditional fare.

Desserts will include a sample platter for two from which customers can sample smaller portions of several desserts, he said.

Jayne Murray, banquet manager, said Valentine’s books up quickly. Victors is at 126 W. Evans St.

Locomotive Brewing at 123 N. Dargan St. in downtown Florence is offering a Rama Production Bollywood Night for Valentine’s. It includes D J VooDoo, Indian cuisine from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and a party afterward, said Taylor Lee, shift leader. There are vegan and vegetarian options.

Edible Arrangements owner Collin Perry said today is the busiest day of the year.

Chocolate-covered strawberries are the preferred item, said his wife, Ashley Perry.

“We have add-ons such as balloons and teddy bears for the children to add to edible fruit and chocolate arrangements,” Perry said.

They will hand dip in chocolate and box between 700 and 800 boxes with a dozen strawberries in each today, he said.

They deliver in Florence, Darlington and Timmonsville. And for today, they are offering curb service up to 7 p.m. Edible Arrangements is at 130 N. Dargan St.

Shug’s Smokehouse and Grill on Kelleytown Road in Hartsville is hoping to make Valentine’s Day special with steak and lobster tails. Paige Atkinson, manager, said dinner is complete with a choice of desserts ranging from red velvet cake to banana caramel cheesecake to key lime pie.

For those who don’t want cut flowers, Forest Lake Greenhouses on Alligator Road in Florence has potted plants for Valentine’s Day.

“Mixed baskets of potted flowers are our best sellers,” said Mandi Johnson, houseplant specialist.

Johnson said potted plants are a great gift because they last, unlike cut flowers.

She said they have daffodils, tulips, hydrangeas and other potted plants and can have your selection ready and you out the door in five minutes.

“February is the time to plant rose bushes, and we sell a lot of those for Valentine’s” she said.

At Galloway and Moseley, Danny DuBose, sales associates, said jewelry is the most traditional gift for Valentine’s Day. He said engagement rings are in the top five.

“We custom make a lot of wedding rings,” he said.

Diamonds or any jewelry is a great gift to say “I Love You.”