Florists and drivers rushing to meet demand

Dunedin courier Mike Williamson makes haste as he picks up Valentine's Day flowers for delivery....
Dunedin courier Mike Williamson makes haste as he picks up Valentine's Day flowers for delivery. Photo by Craig Baxter.
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 year.

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 day's trading.

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 everyone."

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."


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