Why this Valentine’s Day will be a ‘perfect storm’ for flower arrangements

Valentine's Day flower delivery meets pandemic-era economic challenges

LOS ANGELES, Ca. (CNN) – Most Americans have encountered some pandemic-related supply chain issues by now, whether at the grocery store or waiting longer for a package. But for products where timing is everything, the crunch feels especially intense.

Kairin Caifa looked at this year’s Valentine’s Day flower trade where emotions run high and you may want to place your orders now.

Six blocks with dozens of wholesale flower vendors, business in the Los Angeles flower district really blooms in February. So much, that the California flower mall, one of the district’s large markets will stay open round the clock from Super Bowl Sunday through the end of Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a good feeling buying flowers for someone you care about. So, all of that really helps despite the, the, the economics,” said Mark Chatoff, Owner & President, California Flower Mall.

Chatoff says his 35 vendors face the same thorny economic issues as any other retailer, as growers and suppliers count down to a second pandemic-era Valentine’s Day.

“We are facing rising costs, logistics, transportation – which is part of logistics – shortages,” said Chatoff.

Gersain Bustos brings flowers to the Los Angeles market from local browers, but also items like roses from South Africa. He says disruptions to those air shipments are unlike anything he’s seen in his 30 years in the flower industry.

“One airline cancels, then whoever is behind it has got the pressure to pick up what’s behind,” said Gersain Bustos, Owner, Growers Direct Flowers.

And the high-demand holiday falls on a Monday this year, putting the pressure on, especially for florists tasked with final delivery.

“Those are 2021 problems that are continuing into 2022, but it does get more difficult at Valentine’s Day,” said Kate Penn, Society of American Florists CEO.

Ken Denaburg’s family has owned and oeprated York Flowers in Washington DC for 80 years, “This is what goes on behind the scenes.”

He says he’ll have what he needs this Valentine’s Day thanks to lessons learned throughout the pandemic.

“We’ve had to change design styles, where we can’t get certain flowers, and certain supplies. We’ve been practical and made changes so that we wouldn’t try to force something that didn’t work out,” said Denaburg.

While florists like Denaburg believe supply will meet demand, Society of American Florists CEO Kate Penn says flexibility and creativity may enter the mix.

“It’s just that sometimes if you’re looking for something super specific, you might not be able to get it. And the earlier you can order, the better,” said Penn.

Those big bouquets of red roses require a bigger effort at all points for the big day this year.


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