East Texas florists talk about challenges in Valentine’s Day preparation

Flowers are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift but this year’s supply issues can quickly create a “thorny” problem.
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 11:10 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2022 at 11:32 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Flowers are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, but this year’s supply issues can quickly create a “thorny” problem.

A Longview wholesaler and a Nacogdoches florist nipped them in the bud.

Before eight this morning, delivery cars were lined around Nacogdoches Floral waiting to pick up their share of close to a thousand Valentine’s Day deliveries.

“I love bringing flowers to people. So, I think it will be really good,” said delivery driver Nicole Comens.

It is all thanks to the homework of a florist and his Longview wholesaler.

“It’s been a record week for us,” shared Jeff Floyd, owner of Hill’s Wholesale Florist in Longview. “We service about a 100- to 150-mile radius of Longview.”

He orders flowers from around the world.

“Miami is kind of your port of entry if it’s coming from Europe or coming from Central America or South America. Even some of the Middle Eastern countries,” Floyd explained.

The company depends on a reliable trucking vendor to pick up orders in Miami. The bottleneck came with the hardware supplies.

“Like glassware. The aqua foam, the wet foam that we use for arrangements,” Floyd said. “It is almost non-existent.”

Florist James Ballow at Nacogdoches Floral relies on experience and contacts. He stayed in frequent contact with Floyd. When he heard of hard-to-get items, he began stockpiling.

“We’ve had some challenges as far as items we can get from certain vendors. But we’ve got enough vendors where we can pick and choose from and puzzle it together,” Ballow said.

Shipping costs are increasing, but both businesses are trying to keep costs manageable for the customer.

Some things such as what day of the week Valentine’s Day lands on are out of everyone’s control.

Ballow always asks the customers if they want their delivery a day early. Recipients get an extra day of joy, and deliveries can be spread over two days. It can’t happen from traditional shops when Valentine’s Day is on Monday so that convenience didn’t happen this year.

The rising use of home delivery companies eases Ballow’s burden on hiring drivers. And mapping apps come in handy. Their use is encouraged by Ballow’s son, Colton.

“So it will pinpoint on the first, second, and third stops, so you’re not having to zig-zag back and forth,” the younger Ballow advised.

Efficiency from start to finish is what guarantees your Valentine is happy tonight.

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