Valentine’s Day is a profitable push for garden centers and nurseries, especially during the cold months when business is slow. We spoke to three different businesses to discuss the trends, arrangements and promotions that made the holiday so successful.
Tom Willmore, co-owner of Flower Mart by Sunrise in Nashville, Tennessee, shared that his IGC saw a 20% increase in sales compared to Valentine’s Day 2019. He noted that any kind of fresh cut flowers, especially classics like roses and hydrangeas, sold well.
“The most popular for us was the dozen roses that went for $90,” he said.
The Garden Spot offered decorative pussy willow bouquets on Valentine's Day 2020. Photo: The Garden Spot Facebook page.
And while he said that it’s mostly a cut-flower holiday, plant-wise, they sold a lot of Monstera, Salome and snake plants as well. Easy-to-access displays highlighted the different floral arrangements available for purchase.
“We sat an island off in the middle of our inside floor space and loaded it with various arrangements, from $50 or $60 through $100 or $150, and people picked those up as they came in,” he said.
Flower Mart by Sunrise partnered with the local radio station for a contest to win free flowers, and pitched in flowers to the local animal shelter’s Valentine’s Day event. For the latter event, Willmore explains that the shelter brought dogs to different offices for people to play with, and Flower Mart by Sunrise pitched in flowers for people in those offices to take home.
Plattner credits her IGC's sale success due to the good weather this year. Photo: The Garden Spot Facebook page.
Marcy Plattner, owner of The Garden Spot in Bellingham, Washington, said that her garden center made $6,000 in sales this year.
“For a little nursery like us, I have nine parking spots. The fact that we do so well is just kind of amazing to me. But for us to do a $6,000 day — we felt pretty good about it,” she said.
The Garden Spot doesn’t sell cut flowers, but for Valentine’s Day, they offered Pussy Willow bouquets tied with ribbons, which sold for $7 per bundle. Houseplants, especially 6-inch houseplants, were hot items for 2020.
Last year, The Garden Spot experienced heavy snowfall on Valentine's Day. Photo: The Garden Spot Facebook page.
“Houseplants are popular anyway, but the whole sense that people were giving them as gifts was very much a trend this year in our store,” she said.
Plattner credits the good weather as part of the IGC’s Valentine’s Day success, as last year, the region experienced heavy snowfalls. Additionally, there was sidewalk chalk artwork greeting patrons as they walked inside, as well as cupcakes available for them to enjoy.
“It really was a party all day,” she said.
Mark McAuliffe, president and CEO of Cross Creek Nursery & Landscaping in Richmond, Virginia, also said Valentine’s Day 2020 was a success. The nursery’s florist shop is a small part of the overall operation, but the holiday contributes to 10% of their florist sales for the year, a profit McAuliffe notes as significant. Sales were higher compared to last year as well.
“We had really good weather, which makes a big difference. And because Valentine's was on a Friday, the orders were up,” he said.
The Garden Spot offered pink cupcakes as tasty treats for customers to enjoy. Photo: The Garden Spot Facebook page.
McAuliffe said pink roses were more popular than red roses this year, along with requests for specific types of lilies (which they did not carry). The most popular items were mixed arrangements, which sold between $60 to $80.
The nursery focused on having a good mixture for the walk-in customers, along with a good displays filled with a variety of items for shopping ease. The holiday is something the nursery plans for in advance. He said that arrangements were priced in coolers ready to go, which catered to “the guys that are real last-minute” to help ease the stress of shopping.
“It's still off season for our nursery, so we're able to, at Valentine's day, have a nice influx of people from the other areas of the business,” he said.