CUMMING — If you haven’t picked out that perfect gift for your sweetheart, there’s still time.
Forsyth County retailers are ready for last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers through Friday.
According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 55 percent of Americans plan to celebrate their loved ones this Cupid’s day.
The average person plans to spend nearly $134 on treats for the sweetheart, according to a survey by the federation. That’s up slightly from last year’s average of nearly $131.
Total spending is anticipated to reach $17.3 billion in the United States and local merchants are eager to get their share.
Lance White, owner of Lance’s Jewelry on Market Place Boulevard, said he and his staff always have plenty of gift options available for the occasion.
“This is the second busiest time of the year,” White said. “Christmas is of course the busiest season. But the single busiest day of the year for us, believe it or not, is actually Feb. 14.”
White guessed that may have something to do with the fact that Valentine’s Day draws mostly male shoppers.
“Men usually procrastinate and wait until the last minute. Well, I shouldn’t say procrastinate,” he added. “They try to say that they’re waiting so their wives won’t find [the gift], but realistically we know that they’re procrastinating.”
But that’s OK, White said.
“We try to make it easy for them,” he said. “If they come in the 13th or the 14th, if they spend over $200, they get a box of chocolate and a bouquet of flowers. So it’s one-stop shopping.”
If jewelry isn’t on the list, other shoppers can certainly purchase a flower arrangement for the big day.
Like White, Ronnie McCormick, owner of Lanierland Florist on Hwy. 20, said he and his staff are ready.
“Most of our business for Valentine’s is orders that we’ve taken before the day, but we do always have a few things made up and ready to just hand someone when they come in,” he said.
As expected, McCormick said red roses are the most popular flower each Feb. 14.
“Even if it’s an assortment of flowers, you’re usually going to have some red roses in there if it’s for Valentine’s Day,” he said.
McCormick said the days leading up to the occasion are probably tied with Mother’s Day for his busiest of the year.
“Like I always say, not everyone has a sweetheart, but everyone has a mother,” McCormick joked.
The difference in the two holidays is how the volume of business is distributed.
He noted that Mother’s Day, since it always falls on a Sunday, allows people to schedule their flower deliveries over several different days. That’s not the case this week.
“If it’s flowers for Valentine’s Day, they have to get there on the 14th,” he said. “So I always take on some extra help with the deliveries on that day.”
While they don’t deliver, White said the jewelry store’s staff members have a wide range of items for every shopper.
He said engagement rings typically are a popular item this time of year, though they don’t make up the bulk of the sales.
“You only get engaged once, so we also have to cater to everybody who’s not engaged yet or already married,” he said.
He said there are several different product lines that offer pieces with diamonds at price points less than $200.
“Those are big sellers,” he said.
Whether it’s jewelry or flowers, both White and McCormick are ready for a busy couple of days.
“We always look forward it,” McCormick said.
Added White: “We’re here to help out those guys anyway we can with their gift buying.”