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Published: Friday, 2/10/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Retailers, too, feel the love as shoppers keep romance alive

Local businesses prepare for Valentine's Day

Alyssa Bianco works on an arrangement at Bartz Viviano on Secor Road. Valentine’s Day is the busiest holiday of the year for the florist. Alyssa Bianco works on an arrangement at Bartz Viviano on Secor Road. Valentine’s Day is the busiest holiday of the year for the florist.

Sometimes, love needs a helping hand.

Tina Palmer, who cares for an 87-year-old Toledo man, was playing cupid Thursday at the Christie's Candies And Mints on Glendale Avenue. Because the man cannot easily leave his home, Ms. Palmer swung by the store to pick up an assortment of chocolates for the man's wife.

"He is thoughtful enough to think ahead and do this for her. I can't say my husband would do the same," she said, laughing.

The man and his 92-year-old wife have been married more than 40 years. It's the simple signs of affection, such as the candy, that have kept their love strong, Mrs. Palmer said.

"Whatever you can do to keep a romance alive is great," she said.

Valentine's Day has people not only showing love to one another, but to retailers as well. The holiday is the third-busiest behind Christmas and Easter at Christie's, which makes more than 100 kinds of chocolates.

"People, when they come in, they'll buy specific things they know that a person likes," owner Bob Christie said. "They will buy specific things for them rather than buying an assorted box of chocolates."

The National Retail Federation reports that the average person will spend $126.03 on Valentine's Day this year, which is an 8.5 percent increase from $116.21 last year. That is the highest amount in the 10-year history of the federation's Valentine's Day survey.

Total consumer spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion, with men spending an average of $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards, and more. Women are expected to spend about half that, shelling out an average of $85.76.

"We've seen the trends start to swing upwards," said Kathy Grannis, a spokesman for the federation. "People are digging into their wallets and spoiling the ones that they love."

Beauty Bar, a West Toledo salon and spa, is booked for the weekends before and after Valentine's Day, as well as the day itself, manager Nicole Apodaca said. Couples have booked massages or other services and men have been coming in to purchase gift cards for their partners.

"Our Valentine's Day looks pretty good here," she said, adding that half the customers are buying services for someone else and the rest are treating themselves.

Frank Viviano, owner of Bartz Viviano Flowers & Gifts in Toledo and Oregon, said Valentine's Day is the florist's busiest holiday of the year. Roses are, of course, the most popular flower, but daises, tulips, and carnations also are popular.

Roses typically cost more around Valentine's Day because they're not in season, Mr. Viviano said. A dozen roses start at about $29.95 but can dip as low as about $15 in summer.

Love, it seems, does have a price.

"The cost of our product goes up in winter," Mr. Viviano said. "Valentine's Day is a holiday that you have to be pretty precise on your prediction. If you buy too much product, it's hard to turn a profit, and if you buy too little, you miss out on sales."

Contact Kris Turner at: kturner@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.

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