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Uncertainty looms over possible flower shortages ahead of Valentine's Day

Valentines Day
Posted at 12:35 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 10:43:33-05

As Valentine's Day approaches, many who experienced flower shortages last year on Mother's Day might be wondering if the same pandemic woes might affect Valentine's Day flower supplies this year.

In May, flower shops in cities like Los Angeles reported lower than normal inventory amid the pandemic as Mother's Day orders began coming in.

Aaron McKinnon, a vendor at the Los Angeles Flower Market told the L.A. Times, “Roses, in particular, are tight.” And so was the stock for his ranunculus and anemones.

Prices are also expected to be high this year on Valentine's Day, as is the price on just about everything according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer Price Index. So expect those boxes of chocolates to possibly be more expensive.

Seth Goldman, CEO of flower delivery service Urban Stems spoke to CNN Business about his prediction on shortages.

"I don't think it will be as acute as it was for Mother's Day," Goldman said.

Though he also highlighted other supply chain issues this year that could get in the way, like pilots of planes calling out of work because of COVID-19 infections, which would affect flower shops expecting flower orders that have to come in by plane.

Goldman says that while prices of deliveries and products are going up, his company Urban Stems is trying to offer higher value products to make those price increases worth it.

"Customers are pretty savvy, they understand if prices are going up. I would say that on the whole though they understand that prices across the board are going up, and they haven't really pushed back so much, they understand what we're going through as a company," Goldman said.

While Goldman says prices are going up, companies like Urban Stems say they're focusing on fast deliveries and higher quality products this year, hoping any potential flower shortage won't be as bad as last year.

One Boston-area florist was sure there would be flower shortages this Valentine's Day, the owner also decided to close the shop ahead of the holiday. The Brattle Square Florist, which has been in business for more than 100 years under multiple owners, according to Cambridge Day, decided that current ownership will close the shop on Jan. 31.

Randy Ricker, the owner of the shop who took it over 9 years ago said, “I do not believe that we can meet the demands of Valentine’s Day in February, traditionally our busiest time.” 

Local business owners like Ricker say dealing with the challenges of running a local business in the age of online orders and big retailers is not easy.

“Availability of product has never been more challenging. We are not able to attract and retain staff,” Ricker told the Cambridge Day.