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Valentine's Day florists push to last petal

McDonough resident, Terry Newsome, admits he is a procrastinator when it comes to preparing for celebrations, particularly for Valentine's Day.

Newsome waited alongside other husbands early Monday afternoon to have a bouquet of roses designed for his wife of 10 years, Marina.

"I'm in the planning stages now," said Newsome.

The husband and father noted that his visit to McDonough Flowers and Gifts was his first-ever to a florist, to buy a custom-designed bouquet of roses for his wife. "She's worth it," he said.

Newsome managed to get a hand on some of the floral shop's dwindling supply of roses, according to Jeannie Vaughn, manager of McDonough Flowers and Gifts.

Vaughn regarded Newsome as one of the many patrons who have been placing orders this month for Valentine's Day flower arrangements for their significant others.

For the past two weeks, floral designers at the shop have been preparing for the influx of love-inspired customers, she said.

"A lot of planning goes into this," said Vaughn, noting that her staff has put in 12-14 hours days since late January, getting the chocolate-filled baskets and colorful bouquets ready for delivery.

The floral shop manager acknowledged that some designers at the shop went to work at 8:15 a.m., Saturday, and left at 1:30 a.m., Sunday, preparing hundreds of arrangements.

"All of my employees had 20, or more, hours in overtime last week, and will work about 80-to-84 hours this week," said Vanessa Hayes, owner of the nearfloral shop, Absolutely Flowers in McDonough.

The floral shop's 15 designers worked to make arrangements of thousands of individual flowers. Hayes estimates that the designers have gone through 4,800 red roses in just the past two weeks.

"The red roses are usually the first to go," said Hayes. "We can't make them fast enough."

A red rose is an unmistakable expression of love, according to the web site entitled "The Flower Expert." Red roses convey deep emotions — be it love, longing or desire, according to the site.

They also can be used to convey respect, admiration or devotion, and 12 red roses is the most popular of all combinations, said to convey, "be mine," and "I love you," the web site informed.

Hayes said there is always a high demand for roses and flowers around Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and the Christmas holidays.

The floral shop owner added that sales — three times pricier at those times — have increased yearly, despite the economic crunch that has impacted many of her customers, most of whom are males, this time of year.

"I would say a good 92 percent are male customers, and a lot of men are procrastinators," said Hayes, who praised one loyal customer for placing the shop's earliest Valentine's Day order this year, on Jan. 22. Asked what happens to leftover products, Hayes and Vaughn, both said they simply run out on Valentine's Day.