Ashley Beck returns to the Oak Bay Flower Shop twice a year, at Valentine’s and Mother’s days. On Feb. 13 and 14 there ends up being very little room to work at Oak Bay Flower Shop as customers, mostly men but of all demographics, flock to the shop. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Valentine’s is the biggest day of the year to sell flowers in B.C.

Men should pre-order ahead of time Valentine’s Day, but they don’t

If you’re wondering why the price of flowers jumps in time for Valentine’s Day, look no further than the fact that Feb. 14 is the biggest day of the year for flower sales.

And, while the red rose is still the No. 1 flower sought after on that day, the demand for all flowers goes through the roof on North America’s annual day of romance.

That means competition, and competition in a capitalist market means the prices go up.

But there’s good reason, and it’s not necessarily the retailer taking advantage, said Wendy Cornock, owner of Oak Bay Flower Shop.

The demand for scented lilies, which have grown in popularity, for instance, is up to $15 a stem from the supplier. Roses, as has been well documented, will also cost a pretty penny on Feb. 14.

READ ALSO: A visit with the South Island’s only commercial poinsettia producer

Most independent retail florists in the province rely on the United Flower Growers outlet in Burnaby, a Dutch-style flower auction supplied by a co-operative of 80 B.C. flower growers.

Local growers can not make a profit running extra greenhouses solely for Valentine’s Day. And so, retailers will outbid each other.

“It’s an auction, [fuelled by] the madness and logistics of making sure we have fresh flowers in stock for our customers,” Cornock said.

Cornock can access the auction online but also relies on her local suppliers to bring back what she wants.

“Most florists rely on suppliers, and suppliers, who are often local growers, will head to Vancouver not only to unload Island-grown flowers but return [with a truck full of] mainland-grown and imported flowers,” Cornock said. “So much goes into it, it’s not just two days of the year. This week some suppliers are making multiple trips per day.”

Locally, two of the bigger suppliers are Eurosa Farms and Mount Newton Floral, both on the Saanich Peninsula.

One thing that stands out about Valentine’s Day is the distinct profile of the customer, she says. While Mother’s Day is a close second as the two biggest days in the calendar of a flower business, the purchase of Mother’s Day flowers also has a high number of women involved in the buying. Valentine’s Day is generally one half of the relationship buying for the other. It means there is less of a need for a surprise, and for these reasons, pre-orders are far more common.

“With Mother’s Day we get a much better idea of how much flowers to have in stock,” Cornock said. “With Valentine’s Day, it’s mostly men, and we love them. But they want to keep it a surprise, so they don’t want to buy them early.”

It means that some men are out of luck when it comes to getting their partner’s favourites.

“The answer is to pre-order if you want to make sure you’ll get what you want,” Cornock said. “And it helps us, so we can get a better idea of how much to buy.”

READ ALSO: A rose is a rose, but a Saanich rose is Island gold

That said, demands are changing. It used to be straight roses. And while roses are still the most sought after, it’s become more common to pair roses with the sweetheart’s favourite flowers, or to purchase other flowers altogether.

“Just look how full we are, there’s no room,” Cornock said.

Working long days this week are Cornock, her partner, three staff and three more high school students on the night shift.

“We’ll have to send the students upstairs to our storage to prepare flowers, there’s no room down here.”

After 10 years in business on Oak Bay Avenue, Cornock still gets a tingly feeling of excitement when she sees a fresh arrangement. “I still love it, the colours still make me say, ‘Wow.’”

READ ALSO: One day to go: Last-second Valentine’s Day ideas

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ashley Beck returns to the Oak Bay Flower Shop twice a year, at Valentine’s and Mother’s days. On Feb. 13 and 14 there ends up being very little room to work at Oak Bay Flower Shop as customers, mostly men but of all demographics, flock to the shop. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

The Musical Life of Marlene Nash

Pictured above: Marlene Nash re-enacts one of her winning numbers from the… Continue reading

Town of Creston gets grant to ‘undevelop’ reservoir site

By Lorne Eckersley A last minute grant application earlier in the winter… Continue reading

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Most Read