MOUNT VERNON — Once again the time has come to buy chocolates, candy, stuffed animals and flowers — and don’t forget the jewelry — for Valentine’s Day. This special day only comes once a year, and with so much importance attached to the day, hopefully no one is forgetting about that special someone in their life.
“Jewelry is such a personal gift,” said Gordon Huff, owner of Huff’s Fine Jewelry in Fredericktown. “I don’t know of anything that is more personal than jewelry, and it is something that lasts. I think especially today, with the way things are, people are looking for things that will last — something that is not going to be here today and then gone tomorrow.”
As a gift that will last, a 24K, gold-plated bouquet of real roses is becoming a popular item.
“We sold several of those for Valentine’s and it’s something that someone can put in a room and it can last forever and a day, so it’s not going to wilt and it’s a pretty hot item,” said Huff.
Huff said another popular Valentine’s Day item is the “two hearts, one love” sterling silver pendant, as well as the traditional heart-shaped locket.
“We sell lots of lockets, especially the heart-shaped ones, but it’s usually the heart shape or oval. With right now being Valentine’s, anything to do with hearts is hot,” said Huff.
Sterling silver kisses are another favored gift.
“If you are familiar with Hershey’s kiss candy, we have that duplicated in a piece of sterling silver — it is a kiss that lasts forever,” he said.
Although a yellow-gold metal has always been the choice when it comes to buying jewelry, in the past few years, white metals like platinum, silver and white-gold have become popular with the younger population. Many older people continue to stay with the traditional gold.
Huff said he has noticed somewhat of a change in the selling of gold because of its presence lately in the news. He perceives it might be making a comeback, with people wanting things in yellow-gold.
“Younger people still like white and the older folks still like yellow, but I think we are getting a little bit of a resurgence in yellow-gold again,” he said.
Personalizing jewelry is one of Huff’s specialties. Engravings are a unique way to personalize a lasting moment, event or words of love for the significant other, and it can all be done in store, Huff said.
Flowers are another prominent gift for Valentine’s Day.
“Pretty much everyone is going with the traditional this year,” said Deni Whitt, owner of Deni’s Daisies and Design in Utica. “Either the traditional or bulb gardens is a big thing this year.”
Roses have always been a flower fitting every occasion, especially Valentine’s Day. This year, although still choosing roses, many are going for different colors, adding a bit of variety to the bouquet.
“I think a lot of people this year are looking for a money value,” said Whitt. “The traditional roses, lilies, and that kind of stuff is still going crazy, but it is more of a [variety of colors]. I have quite a few orders for the lavender, the white and pink roses, not so much of the red any more.
“A lot of [customers] are going for bouquets. In fact, a lot of them are going for mixed bouquets, not just your typical roses with babies breath. They want roses with like calla lilies,” said Whitt. “I just finished one with yellow roses and purple heather; those colors are really pretty together. [And others like] pink roses with white daisies, so customers want a little bit of variation from the typical babies breath.”
Deni’s also sells a variety of accessories to help make the occasion unique, such as candy balloons and plush animals.
“With candy, a lot this year are going for the candy bars,” said Whitt. “I have wrappers that go around the Hershey’s bars that say ‘Be my valentine’; those have been going out the door quite a bit. And I do little cellophane bags that have different candies in it for balloon tie downs and that sort of thing.”
Flowers are not popular with just the adults; teenagers are purchasing flowers — and more — for Valentine’s Day.
“I had a [young man] come in here Saturday, who wanted everything; a dozen roses, wanted a box of candy, and a balloon,” said Whitt.
One rose can say as much as a dozen can, said Sally Wright, owner of Flowers For You in Mount Vernon.
“The quantity also depends on the age group we are dealing with. Some people who are more cautious of their funds, like the elderly, will take one, versus somebody that has an income on a weekly bases would be more likely to take six or a dozen.
“This is a last-minute holiday for most people; they don’t think too far ahead to order,” said Wright.
Flowers For You also sells accessories to add to any bouquet, such as plush stuffed animals, box candy, balloons and other add-ons.
“And if they are looking for a keepsake-type of thing, we can put the flowers into pottery,” said Wright. “We have jar candles that we can put flower arrangements on top of, so that once the flowers deteriorate the candle is left.”
Many businesses are not sure how this Valentine’s Day is going to turn out, what with the tightening of the economy and the day falling on a weekend.
“I think because Valentine’s Day being on a Saturday ... this is really a questionable year. Not just the economy, but because it falls on a Saturday, so we are really not for sure what to expect,” said Whitt.
Wright also is unsure of what the sales will be like, but she isn’t counting on them to be higher than last year.
“I expect this year to be down and that is for two reasons. One would be the economy. We are a luxury, not a necessity, and we have to remember that in the business. And two, because of the day of the week it falls on. When it falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, sales are down because there are other options,” said Wright.
Huff said he usually starts to see an increase in customer buying for the holiday around the first part of February.
“We are hoping [our sales] will be as good as last year. Last year was probably the best we ever had in 22 years we’ve been here, so that was definitely our best Valentine’s. And so far, we are running right along the schedule. We will see how the rest of the week plays out,” he said.