February 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ —Two village businesses are ready to meet the demand for flowers for Valentine’s Day.
“It’s just crazy,” said Lenny Zieff, owner and president of Victor’s Florist. “I try to get as much help as I possibly can. I have seven drivers and I can have only four people working in the store—there’s no room for anyone else.”
Victor’s Florist, which began service in South Orange in 1966, is the lone shop devoted to selling floral arrangements in South Orange.
Preparation for the holiday began on Feb. 1, when Zieff started ordering vases and flowers to get ready for the expected rush.
Zieff said he recommends ordering any flowers early, as it will be difficult to purchase roses on Valentine’s Day.
“On Friday, you won’t be able to get in here,” he said.
The space next door to Victor’s Florist is filled with approximately 2,000-2,500 roses, but the room is emptying quickly, according to Zieff.
“They’re going out—boom, boom, boom,” he said.
Ashley Marketplace & Café is the other option to buy flowers in South Orange. Marketing Director Adam Chang said that because there aren’t a lot of places to buy flowers locally, Ashley Marketplace is able to take advantage.
Change said in an email interview that their biggest flower sales come on the days leading up to Valentine’s Day and on Valentine’s Day. “Considering that there aren’t that many options as far as buying flowers in South Orange, it’s obvious why," he said. "We have always carried great flowers in the past as Eden Gourmet, and this year we think our flowers are even better.”
Chang said that Ashley Marketplace has a new flower vendor this year, but their process for preparing for Valentine’s Day has not changed.
“We prepare by reviewing past sales data for flowers for the week leading up to Valentine’s Day and of course the day itself and order based on that,” Chang said, adding that Ashley Marketplace orders more flowers than normal for Valentine’s Day.
Chang said he personally buys his flowers on Valentine’s Day because they last longer when buying them fresh.
As an alternative to roses, Chang said, red chrysanthemums, carnations and a colorful mixed bouquet can be cost-efficient choices. Chang also recommended orchids as an aesthetic option, but said they “aren’t a cheap alternative.”
For Zieff, however, roses are the best option for the holiday.
“People want roses for Valentine’s Day,” he said. “You have to able to afford it. You have to go for it.”
Zieff also urged customers to stay away from sources such as 1-800-FLOWERS, saying it is better to buy flowers locally.
“Call your local florist,” he said. “You’ll get the best value.”
The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.