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Businesses Scramble To Deliver Valentine's Treats In Snow

Snow falls past a Valentine's Day display inside Lee's Flower & Card Shop in the early morning in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Jacquelyn Martin
Snow falls past a Valentine's Day display inside Lee's Flower & Card Shop in the early morning in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

If those flowers you were expecting fail to show up by Friday, don't be so quick to blame your Valentine. It could just be the weather.

That's not to say that the friendly neighborhood florist isn't planning for the worst — and hoping for the best.

ABC2 in Baltimore quotes Libby Francis-Baxter, owner of The Modest Florist in Hampden, saying she's been working overtime to get flower arrangements ready for delivery: "I'll be here until the cows come home," she says.

As determined as she is, though, Francis-Baxter started telling her customers on Wednesday that because of the weather, she could not guarantee Friday delivery.

And what about that romantic dinner for two?

Christie Smertycha, who manages Jack Bistro in Canton, Md., says she isn't taking any chances. She has three days' worth of clothing packed for work to be ready for the holiday rush, hoping it arrives.

"We're prepared to sleep here, " she tells ABC2. "We plan to be open and we plan to seat customers."

Smertycha isn't alone.

The Charlotte Observer says that on Wednesday, trucks delivering for the city's Elizabeth House Flowers "were sliding on Charlotte's slick streets." Co-owner Cecil Shearin tells the Observer that rather than risk causing an accident, the trucks returned to the shop with the undelivered flowers.

"That means arrangements might not be delivered until Friday," the newspaper reports. Shearin thinks business could be down 50 percent because of the weather, costing her business $20,000.

The newspaper says that at Davidson Chocolate Co. owner Ana Vazquez "was personally calling customers with some bad news: The chocolate-covered strawberries that were supposed to be finished Thursday would not be ready until Friday."

Vazquez says because of the weather, she couldn't go out to buy the strawberries.

"We have regular customers who I'm pretty sure will understand the situation. I'm guessing there are some new ones that won't like the idea at all," she was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, florists, gift shops, restaurants, bakeries, candy stores and other businesses are reportedly hoping the roads will stay clear enough to keep business moving.

"We're still planning on making deliveries," said Lori Coggins, with Coggins Flowers and Gifts in Spartanburg tells "We deliver all over the county ... We may have to make some adjustments, but we're planning on being open every day."

Coggins says she has 30 drivers lined up for Friday and a list of volunteers in case the weather causes any problems for her regulars.

In Cleveland, where a February snowstorm is a fairly common event, the florists have deliveries under such circumstances down to a science:

Ken Wheeler of the 12th Street Florist tells 19 Action News that he uses what he calls "jumpers."

"We can pull up to the door of a building and a jumper will run in," says Wheeler.

It got him through a Valentine's Day snowstorm back in 2007, and he expects the system to work this year, too.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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