Local shops brace for Valentine's Day rush

Staff photo by Derrek Asberry
Dick Rudisill, the co-owner of Cyndi's Sweet Shoppe, said the store is expecting a rush of Valentine's Day customers over the next two days.
Staff photo by Derrek Asberry Dick Rudisill, the co-owner of Cyndi's Sweet Shoppe, said the store is expecting a rush of Valentine's Day customers over the next two days.

Husbands tend to be last-minute Valentine's Day shoppers, according Dick Rudisill, co-owner of Cyndi's Sweet Shoppe.

Despite other local shops validating Rudisill's statement, a study by the National Retail Federation shows that men will spend an average of $108.38 on gifts for their significant others – more than twice as much as women, who will spend $49.41 on a significant other.

Overall, the average shopper will spend $133.91 for Valentine's Day and retailers are expecting total spending to reach $17.3 billion. The Federation added that shoppers will also buy Valentine's Day items for teachers, colleagues and even pets.

Still, Rudisill jokingly said that husbands will likely be Thursday and Friday shoppers this year. Women, on the other hand, have been buying chocolates and other items for their loved ones, children and grandchildren all week.

“A lot of times, we've found that Valentine's Day isn't just about love. It's also about remembering someone who's a friend or remembering a friend who has lost a loved one,” he said.

Aiken shops have priced an average box of assorted chocolates at about $25. Megan Ledbetter, owner of Cassidy's Cakes, added that other popular Valentine's Day requests have been chocolate-covered strawberries and red velvet cupcakes.

“Many people will also order whole cakes for significant others and family members,” Ledbetter explained. “We do get a lot of last-minute calls, and since we're a home shop, we have to be extra prepared for the rush.”

Preparations are also a key for another popular Valentine's Day item – flowers. Floral Gallery owner Casey McKinney said she likes to get her flowers in early to satisfy customers who have already ordered arrangements and those who may come in at the last minute.

“We'll start getting calls about a week and a half in advance,” McKinney said. “Classic red roses are always a best-seller, and most people go with a local florist to make sure the quality is there.”

Locally, a dozen red roses with a vase, accent flowers, greenery and ribbon falls between $65 and $75 dollars at various shops with a delivery of about $10.

Cannon House Florist owner Kristi Yaughn said her shop also offers chocolate truffles and other items for Valentine's Day. To prepare, Yaughn said she gets extra help to cut flowers and help make deliveries.

“It's really like a week-long party,” Yaughn said. “Family and friends all pitch in during the week, and we really have fun getting everything together.”

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.

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