Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays of the year for florists. Isabelle Arnau of the Huntingdon-based De Fleur en Fille shares that the shop has been preparing since before Christmas. Roses were ordered as early as November, and she says the day is “always in our thoughts.”
Last year was a tricky year financially for a lot of small businesses in the Valley, and Arnau says she felt the ups and downs. “Because we deal with perishables, we have to be more careful,” she explains. She feels optimistic about this year, though, sharing that “It’s a good year for the florists when Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday.” She says she believes this is because most people will go out for dinner later in the week, but Wednesdays are a better day for a gesture like flowers.
Arnau emphasizes that it’s extremely important to put in your orders for February 14th in advance. “It’s hard to know how much to order if we don’t know how many orders we’ll have,” she says. She will have special bouquets of all sizes with many kinds of flowers available to suit anyone’s budget.
Sourcing the large numbers of flowers needed for Valentine’s Day is especially challenging. “The growers are highly solicited,” says Arnau. The other big holiday for florists is Mother’s Day, but while Mother’s Day falls on different dates around the world, Valentine’s Day is the same worldwide, meaning there is a global demand from flower producers.
Arnau says one way to save time is to order your bouquets online in advance, and there is also an option for delivery. She suggests that ordering delivered flowers online from a small shop ensures that the people making the delivery care about you. “Some people send things by Purolator or other services, and the flowers arrive all squished. With us, we pay attention to details.” Plus, supporting local businesses helps keep them in the region.
Many small businesses have been struggling to pay back Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans and other aid packages that were given out in response to the pandemic. Though Arnau has already paid hers back, saying it was a “hot potato” she wanted to be rid of, she worries other businesses will be hard hit. “I’m scared we’ll lose more people to this. I see it with my suppliers who say their losing two or three buyers each week… That’s enormous.”
This year, Arnau says plans to bring new products to the store. “It’s been 12 years that I’ve been in business, and there are some things that I’ve been selling for 10 years. They are great products, but after ten years the whole Haut-Saint-Laurent has experienced them,” she explains. “We want to be affordable. We want people to be able to come in looking for a gift and to be able to sell them something nice and good quality within their budget.”