Feb. 12, 2007

Local florists gear up for their busiest day of the year

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

It’s the day for guys to shine.

Valentine’s Day is – count them – two days away, and Delano Floral and Gifts owner Deann Shoutz and Greenhouse Floral, Gift, and Garden owner Gina Kosek are gearing up for the big day.

From ordering and preparing more flowers, to speciality gifts, they said Valentine’s Day is their biggest single day of the year.

“We have four extra drivers on hand,” Shoutz said. Her father-in-law, Jerome Andres, who used to own the hardware store in town, helps out, as does her sister, Tammy, who comes up from Sleepy Eye for the day before and the day of Valentine’s Day.

“Normally, there are four of us that work here, but for Valentine’s Day, any extra hands are helpful,” she said. Her husband, Scott, handles lining up the extra drivers and support.

Kosek does most of the work herself, and said her husband, Mark, helps her a lot.

Shoutz said that Valentine’s Day is the busiest day for her and her staff, but prom follows close behind, as does Mother’s Day.

Kosek said Valentine’s Day is also the busiest day of the year for her, but added that two open houses that she conducts are also very busy events.

Shoutz said with prom and Mother’s Day, people are more likely to order in advance, where as Valentine’s Day is more last-minute.

Some pre-orders have been made with Delano Floral and Gifts, but not as many as she would like, Shoutz said.

“I don’t want to knock the guys that have been here,” Shoutz said early last week with a laugh. “They’ve put some thought into it.”

The most common Valentine’s Day gift is the standard dozen roses, she said. Her roses come from a greenhouse in Plymouth.

“They have some awesome roses,” she said, adding the location is convenient for her to drive to if she runs out of something. She said there are also some imported roses that will be available at her store.

As for the cold weather, she has already plans for that, as well.

“We’ll be double or triple bagging that day if it’s as cold as it has been,” she said.

She also added that if people are planning on picking up flowers themselves, they should make sure their cars have been warmed up, and when they get home, to check the water. Flowers can be damaged if they are transported in a cold vehicle.

The food and preservative packets that come with the flowers are important to put into the water, too, she said.

“Once home or inside, don’t forget to unwrap your floral arrangement, and remember to add to the water each day,” Kosek said. “They should last at least one week.”

Kosek said roses are not a primary focus for her shop, and that she offers European hand-tied bouquets, and other specialities. Tulips are also popular, but she said she still does a lot of roses, as well.

“If someone were going to get me flowers for any occasion, I’d want a European hand-tied bouquet,” Kosek said. “They are $35 and up, and are so unique and pretty. You don’t have the cost of a vase, as the stems are hand-tied. You don’t have to arrange the flowers once you get them home because they are already arranged.”

“People always want more than flowers,” Kosek said, adding she also has a variety of other items that can be given to that special someone.

For those looking to have deliveries made, Shoutz makes deliveries locally in Delano, and also to Rockford, Loretto, Maple Plain, Long Lake, St. Boni, Waconia, Montrose, and Waverly.

Kosek also will make deliveries within a 15-mile radius, but orders of $50 or more can be delivered further.

Shoutz also has a “cities” route, including a trip to Brooklyn Park, which is part of the reason extra drivers are brought on for the big day.

“We like to keep ‘em busy,” she said of her drivers.

Kosek’s father, Tom Fink, does the deliveries for Greenhouse Floral Gift, and Garden.

Shoutz said, in Delano, the school receives a lot of deliveries, as do many businesses, and the nursing home. She said more gifts are delivered to businesses than to homes.

Kosek said for her, Landscape Structures receives the most deliveries.

“They have a lot of great husbands over there, buying their wives nice things,” Kosek said.

Along with the flowers, people like to be creative and pick out speciality gifts, including candles, books, balloons, chocolates, knickknacks, and other plants, that are also intended for the day. To make it easier for customers, she said people can also order online.

Gift certificates are a popular gift at Kosek’s store, with one favorite for parents being purchasing a gift for their children’s teachers.  

“A lot of parents buy gifts or flowers to be delivered to their children at school – a lot of dads buying gifts for their little girls,” Kosek said.

Shoutz has owned Delano Floral and Gifts for six years, and said she has been in floral work for most of her life, except for five years when she worked at General Mills.

Kosek said the building and location has been in her husband’s family for four generations, since 1911.

Originally, it was Motzko’s off sale liquor, complete with gas pumps, then Motzko’s General Store, then Dee’s General Store, and for the past four years, it has been The Daily Grinde and Greenhouse Floral, Gift, and Garden.

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