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Retailers ready for Valentine's Day
It's never too late, they say
Val WEB 1
Jo Ann Butler, left, and Shirley McCormick arrange bouquets Wednesday at Lanierland Florist. Retailers are bracing for the last-minute Valentine’s Day rush today. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Have you purchased flowers, candies, jewelry or other treats for your sweetie?

If not, there’s still time as Forsyth retailers have plenty of Valentine’s Day goodies to pick from.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the average American is expected to spend an average of more than $130 this year for cupid’s day.

Total spending throughout the country is anticipated to reach nearly $19 billion.

No doubt at least some of that spending will happen today with many Valentine’s shoppers waiting until the last minute to buy gifts, say some local retailers.

“Last-minute folks, yes, we see a lot of that. We are dealing with men here,” joked Doris Corona, vice president of operations at Lance’s Jewelry on Market Place Boulevard.

Ronnie McCormick, owner of Lanierland Florist on Canton Road, said that while most people place their flower orders in plenty of time, “you do have a few guys that wait till the fourth quarter.”

Bophar Zepeda, assistant store manager at Belk in Lakeland Plaza, said she’s expecting crowds today around men’s work schedules.

“We’re pretty busy on Valentine’s Day,” she said. “We have a lot of people in here in the morning and then again in the late afternoon.”

Corona said some of the most popular items at Lance’s Jewelry are heart-shaped pieces.

“Diamonds are very hot and rubies as well for the red color for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “And engagement rings are the biggest ones. A lot of people get engaged on Valentine’s Day.”

For those that maybe aren’t quite ready to take that step, or for those who are already married, McCormick and Zepeda have plenty of gift options.

Zepeda said some of Belk’s top sellers around Valentine’s Day are fragrance sets and accessories.

For McCormick, roses are the big seller this week.

“We probably go through the neighborhood of 1,200 to 1,400 roses this week,” he said. “The bulk of those are deliveries … that makes a little more of statement and keeps them out of trouble if the wife or significant other gets it delivered to their work.”

While most of today’s shoppers are men, Zepeda said her store does get its fair share of female shoppers looking for items for their boyfriends or husbands.

But like at Christmas, she said, women seem to put a little more thought into their purchases.

“Girls are definitely more excited about Valentine’s Day than guys are,” she said. “When they come in if they’re buying even a simple shirt or cologne for their boyfriend, they’re so excited.

“But the guys are like, ‘Yeah, I think that’s what she wants.’”

And if there are any doubts, Corona said guys can never go wrong with jewelry.

“It’s something that’s very sentimental and she’ll remember for what occasion she got that piece of jewelry,” she said.

McCormick said flowers also can make a nice last-minute gift.

“We try our best to accommodate everybody … but it gets to where you can’t be quite as specific [with your order] as if you had called earlier, but we try to make everything work pretty good,” he said.