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)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Selkirk College offering employees voluntary resignations

The college is canvassing employees for those who may want some time off or reduced work loads

$335K spent on Boundary flood protection for 2020 freshet

The RDKB and City of Grand Forks are submitting their receipts to the province

Province releases report on Columbia River Treaty public feedback

Reservoir levels, fair compensation for impacted communities, among many issues raised

Johnson Flats residents urge clarity, support with flood protection

‘[The bank] was there. It broke. Put it back’

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read