October 21, 2021

Florists see sales bloom

But business a mixed bag as pandemic cancels events

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Becky Guernsey, the manager of Shaw and Boehler Florist in Cortland, prepares a floral arrangement Friday. Orders have been ramping up as Valentine’s Day approaches.

Becky Guernsey and her staff at Shaw and Boehler Florist in Cortland worked with a quick tempo Friday as they prepared floral arrangements for Valentine’s Day.

Business has been “pretty steady” this week, with somewhere between 300 and 350 orders made, but more were coming as one of the store’s biggest holidays approached, Guernsey said.

With Valentine’s Day coming Sunday, florists in Cortland County have been taking orders and making deliveries to friends, families and loved ones, even with new COVID protocols in place.

This comes as florists across the U.S. have seen mixed economic success. Stores in some states have higher sales than before while others struggle, according to news reports.

Guernsey said most of her orders have been for nursing home residents and people working from home.

“The majority of the orders are for the people they can’t see on Valentine’s Day,” she said.

Since the pandemic began, the store has had a required mask policy indoors along with tape directing visitors in which directions to enter and exit the store.

Deliveries have become contact-free, requiring the delivery person to knock on the recipient’s door and leaving the flowers on the front step or porch.

And while the early months of the pandemic were hard for the business as big events like graduations and weddings were canceled, orders have been increasing since Christmas, Guernsey said.

At Arnold’s Florist in Homer, business has been busier leading up to Valentine’s Day this year than in years prior, said owner Jean Quinn.

“It’s definitely people wanting to stay in touch and send out their love,” she said.

Quinn said she had been taking orders both day and night, along with receiving others online. She, too, said many recipients have been for people working at home.

Her business also had to implement COVID restrictions, including masks and contactless delivery.

Guernsey and Quinn hoped 2021 would continue the strong trend their businesses respectively had at the end of 2020.

“Arnold’s Florist can survive,” Quinn said. “We’ve been in business since 1893” and survived two world wars, the Great Depression and recessions.