Business owners love Valentine's Day

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Florists, jewelers and restaurant owners all agree that the holiday is great for their bottom line

HOLLY SCHOLZ/ CENTRAL OREGONIAN
 - Sisters Jessica Jahn, left, and Felicia Sumner prepare Valentine's Day floral arrangements at their shop, Bizzy Bees Flowers and Gifts. They say the holiday is one of their busiest days of the year and an important part of their business.

A dozen red roses, a sparkling new necklace, a steak dinner with a glass of wine, and fine chocolates with the one you love.

Valentine's Day — a day to celebrate romance and relationships — is also a day local business owners love.

"We wish it could be Valentine's Day every day through the month of February because February is a slow month. This is the shining spot for February," said Joe Litzinger, owner of Crossroads BBQ Pit and Pub in Prineville. "It's a good day for us. Everybody likes to come out."

From restaurants to flower shops and jewelry stores, Valentine's Day notoriously helps the bottom line of local businesses that have suffered through the post-Christmas blues.

"Valentine's Day is good for the restaurant on the whole because everybody wants to take their bride out or whatever the case may be, so it's a busy day for us," Litzinger said. "I always try to make up something special for Valentine's Day."

The barbecue pit and pub has a Valentine's Day dinner special for two, offering several entrees, such as prawns, steak and salmon, as well as appetizers and side dishes and chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert. Reservations are recommended.

Across town at Meadow Lakes Restaurant, Facility Manager Zach Lampert agrees that Valentine's Day is a great day for business.

The city-owned restaurant does not normally serve dinner — they reserve that for special occasions — and Valentine's Day is one of them.

"It's been a really good thing for us," Lampert said of the Valentine's Day buffet-style dinner.

The buffet features appetizers, entrees such as prime rib, salmon and pork loin, as well as side dishes and dessert. There are separate prices for adults, seniors and children, and reservations are required.

"We have a good crowd," Lampert said of the annual event.

Last year, Meadow Lakes Restaurant served about 185 people in a three-hour window, and about 20 percent of February sales came from Valentine's Day.

"It's definitely a great event for our restaurant. We have a good turnout, and it looks like this year is going to be another good turnout," Lampert said. "For us, it's very well received, and we enjoy doing it."

Terry's Jewelry and Gifts owner Faye Hamman says she enjoys seeing her customers have fun picking out jewelry for their loved ones for Valentine's Day.

"I don't think people feel pressured at Valentine's Day. I think they enjoy it for the fun time," she said, noting that they sell more pendants and earrings rather than "serious" rings this time of year.

"We have more sales during Valentine's Day," Hamman said. Additionally, anything with a heart is on sale.

"Heart pendants, heart jewelry, rings, anything with a heart on it or in it or made with a heart," she said, are on sale for the holiday.

Flowers are as much a part of Valentine's Day as hearts, and The Posie Shoppe owner Michelle Simpson says orders vary wildly.

"We do everything from a $6.50 wrapped rose to several hundred dollars with several dozen roses," she said, adding that it all depends on the customer's budget and situation. They may be newly dating, married for a while, or have just gotten engaged.

The stargazer lily and rose combination bouquet is her most popular flower arrangement. It comes in several sizes, but the best seller is the medium bouquet.

"It's really fun to see the guys getting excited or nervous and see some of the messages that they want to send," Simpson said. "It's pretty sweet sometimes."

She says Feb. 14 is definitely their single busiest day of the year and can be challenging.

"Mother's Day is a bigger time, but it's spread over more days, and on Valentine's Day, everybody wants it right in the morning," she laughed. "So it's definitely a challenge because of that."

Bizzy Bees Flowers and Gifts Manager Lydia Evans agrees.

"It's absolutely the second best holiday of the year — absolutely — behind Mother's Day, of course," she said.

"Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are extremely important. We can't make it without them," said Bizzy Bees co-owner Jessica Jahn, adding that prom and winter formal are also big days in the floral business.

Although fairly new to the industry, Bizzy Bees co-owner Felicia Sumner said Valentine's Day itself is super busy.

"You think you get caught up, and then you'll have a whole other rush of people come in, and then you're behind again, literally within minutes," Sumner said, adding that sales double or triple every day closer to Feb. 14.

Bizzy Bees offered a Valentine's Day special for preorders — free delivery in the city limits for any pre-ordered dozen roses. They also deliver to Juniper Canyon area.

Sumner and Jahn, who are sisters, enjoy being in the flower business together.

"It's heartwarming to see how people think of other people during this time — not even just couples — but people doing nice things for their moms or their daughters," she said.

They also like how the day affects the bottom line of their flower shop.

"The income doubles and triples in the days prior to Valentine's Day," Sumner said. "It's huge. It's a huge amount of money for such a short time."