Why this Valentine’s Day will be a “perfect storm” for flower arrangements

Valentine’s Day Flower Delivery Responds to Pandemic-Era Economic Challenges

Los Angeles, CA. (CNN) — Most Americans have already encountered pandemic-related supply chain issues, whether it’s grocery shopping or waiting longer for a package. But for products where timing is everything, the crunch is particularly intense.

Kairin Caifa looked at this year’s Valentine’s Day flower trade where emotions are running high and you might want to place your orders now.

Six blocks with dozens of wholesale flower vendors, business in Los Angeles’ flower district really blossoms in February. So much so that the California Flower Mall, one of the big markets in the area, will remain open 24 hours a day from Super Bowl Sunday until the end of Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a good feeling to buy flowers for someone you love. So it all really helps despite the, the, the savings,” said Mark Chatoff, owner and president, California Flower Mall.

Chatoff says its 35 suppliers face the same thorny economic issues as any other retailer, as growers and suppliers count until a second Valentine’s Day in the age of the pandemic.

“We are facing increased costs, logistics, transportation – which is part of logistics – shortages,” Chatoff said.

Gersain Bustos brings to the Los Angeles market flowers from local merchants, but also items like roses from South Africa. He says the disruptions from these air shipments are unlike anything he’s seen in his 30 years in the floral industry.

“An airline cancels, then whoever’s behind has the pressure to pick up what’s behind,” said Gersain Bustos, owner of Growers Direct Flowers.

And the high-demand holiday falls on a Monday this year, which puts pressure, especially on florists in charge of final delivery.

“These are 2021 issues that carry over into 2022, but it gets tougher on Valentine’s Day,” said Kate Penn, CEO of the Society of American Florists.

Ken Denaburg’s family has owned and operated York Flowers in Washington DC for 80 years, “This is what happens behind the scenes.”

He says he’ll have what he needs this Valentine’s Day thanks to lessons learned throughout the pandemic.

“We had to change design styles, where we can’t get certain flowers and supplies. We’ve been hands-on and made changes so we’re not trying to force something that hasn’t worked,” Denaburg said.

While florists like Denaburg believe supply will meet demand, Society of American Florists CEO Kate Penn says flexibility and creativity can go into the mix.

“It’s just that sometimes if you’re looking for something very specific, you might not be able to get it. And the sooner you can order, the better,” Penn said.

Those big bouquets of red roses take a bigger effort in every way for this year’s big day.

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