Dunedin courier Mike Williamson makes haste as he picks up
Valentine's Day flowers for delivery. Photo by Craig
Florists and courier drivers throughout Otago are
scrambling to meet Valentine's Day demand as thousands of roses
and other romantic gifts are exchanged between loved ones.
Many Dunedin-based companies have doubled their staff and
increased today's working hours in an effort to ensure no
bouquet is left undelivered or chocolate box on the shelf.
For Mike Williamson, February 14 is the busiest day of the
Mr Williamson established Mike's Couriers 14 months ago and
today is responsible for ensuring the work of seven Dunedin
florists is suitably distributed.
He will spend up to 15 hours working on Valentine's Day.
"I absolutely love it. Ninety-nine percent of the time it's
good positive feedback.
"The amount of guys you deliver flowers to is surprising ...
We go to truck yards and places where really blokey blokes
are and they get really excited."
Dunedin Courier Company co-owner David Lang expected to start
his working day about 5am and not finish before 6.30pm.
Nor did he expect a break, with upwards of 300 deliveries.
"It's just flat tack all day, you don't get a chance to stop.
But it's one of the best times to work."
Mr Lang and his wife Sandra, who owns Marguerita Florist,
know only too well the pressures of February 14.
"We tend to celebrate Valentine's Day during the next weekend
because we are so knackered," Mr Lang said.
He has increased the company's number of drivers from five to
nine for today's workload; up an estimated 120% on a normal
Mrs Lang said most clients had stuck to traditional
favourites such as red and perfumed roses, but glassware
(flowers arranged and sold in vases) and fragrant blooms were
in vogue at present.
"It's from one extreme to the other, really. It's just giving
that token of love that's the key thing. It doesn't matter if
it's a single rose, bunch of roses or flowers; it's great for
Estelle Flowers owner Jolene Wilkinson said bouquets of pink
and red blooms were also really popular, as an exotic twist
on romantic tradition.
Joseph Jones owner Jo Baldwin said pre-orders for Valentine's
Day were up on last year, but it was hard to determine an
overall increase in trade.
"You never know until the day. I thought things might be a
bit quieter with everything that's been happening over the
last 12 months, but it's all looking very good so far."