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Valentine's Day: Merchants ready for occasion
Men advised don’t delay
Vday Memories Florist 7 es
Flowers, along with chocolates and spa certificates are the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts. - photo by Emily Saunders
Stocked with more than 3,500 roses and at least as many tulips, carnations and other romantic floral varieties, Cheryl Brown is prepared for whatever Valentine’s Day brings her way.

But Brown, the owner of Memories Florist in Cumming, said “most florists thrive on last-minute orders” during the busy occasion, which this year falls on Sunday.

“We’ll be taking orders as long as we have flowers,” she said. “We will be delivering on Sunday.”

Flowers, along with chocolates, spa certificates and meals are the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts, said John Heavener, president of the Georgia Retail Association.

“There will be some people who buy other things, but those are the ones that most people go to,” he said.

Birgit McGinnis said it’s a toss-up between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for busiest holiday at her business, House of Beauty Salon & Spa on Sharon Road.

Gift certificates and spa packages are the top sellers for Valentine’s “mainly because of the stress of life,” she said.

The massages and other spa treatments are great gifts for pampering and relaxation, she said.

While Valentine’s Day gift ideas don’t change much, Heavener said, cautious spending may be this year’s shopper’s mantra.

“I think people will be making smaller purchases as far as total ticket is concerned,” he said.

“I don’t think people are ready to spend extravagantly because of the economy. I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.”

The Chocolaterie isn’t taking any chances. Co-owner Elizabeth Ashworth is having a men’s shopping night from 5 to midnight tonight.

“We’re going to feed the fellows,” she said.

To help boost sales, the chocolate shop in The Avenue Forsyth will treat men to barbecue, bison burgers and massages.

“We’re just hoping to really get the guys out there and give them a push ... so they don’t shop at the drug store Sunday on the way home from church,” she said.

Fresh truffles will be the business’s top seller, said Ashworth, who owns the store with husband Michael.

Truffles come in both seven- and 15-piece boxes, with different truffle flavors dubbed the “hearts of fire collection.”

Chocolates, she said, are a tradition.

“Chocolate induces the feeling of being in love,” she said.

In addition to flowers, Brown said many of her arrangements are ordered with balloons, candy plush animals and other accessories.

While orders have been trickling in, she said this is likely the calm before the storm, which will begin Friday.

“You have to hire extra people, hire extra drivers, and extra help and extra phones,” she said. “And sometimes you bring your cot and stay all night.

“There will be a lot of orders all in a small amount of time.”