Flower power: Steamboat florists prep for Valentine’s Day, one of their busiest days of the year
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — On Wednesday, florist Amy Tirone and her staff at The Tall Tulip were busy creating one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day flower arrangements.
“Christmas is by far the busiest season, but Valentine’s Day is our biggest single day,” said Tirone, who owns and operates the downtown Steamboat Springs flower shop. “We love Valentine’s Day, because the flowers are extra amazing, and we have a lot to work with.
“Usually we have to have kind of a smaller order, because we don’t want to throw away flowers at the end of the week, just for our weekly orders,” she explained. “On Valentine’s Day, we just have such a huge variety that it’s really fun.”
According to the Society of American Florists, Valentine’s Day is the No. 1 day for florists and for floral purchases and second to Christmas/Hanukkah in dollars spent. Each year, American adults spend nearly $2 billion on Valentine’s Day flowers.
“We all put in some long hours this week, but it’s worth it,” Tirone said.
With the pandemic and the fact that Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, she is not sure what to expect this year. She is delivering Valentine’s Day orders and offering curbside pickup, but customers will not be able to pick up premade arrangements like in the past.
“The biggest thing is usually we have a line out the door of people just picking up flowers that we made and were not ordered ahead of time,” Tirone said. “This year, we can’t do that, so it cuts out a lot of our business.”
She said in a normal, non-pandemic year, Valentine’s Day might account for 15% of her business for the year.
Just a couple of blocks away, Gina Knochenmus, who owns Steamboat Floral and Gifts, was also busy preparing floral arrangements in her store. She has owned the business, which was founded in 1946, for eight years.
“Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day — those are the big three,” Knochenmus said. “But these days, we are busy year-round.”
She said while many businesses in downtown Steamboat have struggled to stay afloat in the turbulence created by COVID-19 and its accompanying restrictions, her flower shop has tripled its business in the last year. She thinks people want to have flowers and plants around to brighten the dark days created by the pandemic.
She has been busy this week and has plans to keep her doors open through Valentine’s Day to accommodate last-minute shoppers.
“We’ve been just getting orders since last week, and some even prior to that,” Knochenmus said. “I don’t know what’s going on, but people are sure loving what we are doing.”
Caroline Jordan, owner of Linden Co., and Shannon McNally, her florist manager, had just returned from Denver, where they picked up the flowers they need to make it through the Valentine’s Day weekend.
“I mean, our stuff is mostly really whimsical, light and airy,” Jordan said. “But with Valentine’s Day, we kind of like to applaud the holiday with bright-colored roses and make sure everyone feels that bright, cheery love situation.”
Store manager Audrey Dwyer said Valentine’s Day is a chance for the downtown shop to give customers something different.
“Valentine’s Day is the one holiday of the year where we have an opportunity to showcase a really different side of Linden,” Dwyer said. “It’s a time where we can really show our creativity.”
For Linden, the holiday is all about celebrating love and having some fun.
“I like those big bright roses and bright colors,” Jordan said. “Valentine’s Day has always been like such a flower holiday. When I was just starting to do events out of my garage, I did something for Valentine’s Day, because I thought it was a good way to get my name out there. Now that I have a brick and mortar, and more of a reputation, it’s been really fun to see our repeat customers come back, especially those once-a-year buyers.”
This year, Jordan will be offering a Vintage Rose Box for Valentine’s Day as well as grab-and-go’s that are made using tulips from the Colorado Flower Collective.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.