Ashley Beck returns to the Oak Bay Flower Shop twice a year, at Valentine’s and Mother’s days. On Feb. 13 and 14 there ends up being very little room to work at Oak Bay Flower Shop as customers, mostly men but of all demographics, flock to the shop. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Ashley Beck returns to the Oak Bay Flower Shop twice a year, at Valentine’s and Mother’s days. On Feb. 13 and 14 there ends up being very little room to work at Oak Bay Flower Shop as customers, mostly men but of all demographics, flock to the shop. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Valentine’s is the biggest day of the year to sell flowers in B.C.

Men should pre-order ahead of time Valentine’s Day, but they don’t

If you’re wondering why the price of flowers jumps in time for Valentine’s Day, look no further than the fact that Feb. 14 is the biggest day of the year for flower sales.

And, while the red rose is still the No. 1 flower sought after on that day, the demand for all flowers goes through the roof on North America’s annual day of romance.

That means competition, and competition in a capitalist market means the prices go up.

But there’s good reason, and it’s not necessarily the retailer taking advantage, said Wendy Cornock, owner of Oak Bay Flower Shop.

The demand for scented lilies, which have grown in popularity, for instance, is up to $15 a stem from the supplier. Roses, as has been well documented, will also cost a pretty penny on Feb. 14.

READ ALSO: A visit with the South Island’s only commercial poinsettia producer

Most independent retail florists in the province rely on the United Flower Growers outlet in Burnaby, a Dutch-style flower auction supplied by a co-operative of 80 B.C. flower growers.

Local growers can not make a profit running extra greenhouses solely for Valentine’s Day. And so, retailers will outbid each other.

“It’s an auction, [fuelled by] the madness and logistics of making sure we have fresh flowers in stock for our customers,” Cornock said.

Cornock can access the auction online but also relies on her local suppliers to bring back what she wants.

“Most florists rely on suppliers, and suppliers, who are often local growers, will head to Vancouver not only to unload Island-grown flowers but return [with a truck full of] mainland-grown and imported flowers,” Cornock said. “So much goes into it, it’s not just two days of the year. This week some suppliers are making multiple trips per day.”

Locally, two of the bigger suppliers are Eurosa Farms and Mount Newton Floral, both on the Saanich Peninsula.

One thing that stands out about Valentine’s Day is the distinct profile of the customer, she says. While Mother’s Day is a close second as the two biggest days in the calendar of a flower business, the purchase of Mother’s Day flowers also has a high number of women involved in the buying. Valentine’s Day is generally one half of the relationship buying for the other. It means there is less of a need for a surprise, and for these reasons, pre-orders are far more common.

“With Mother’s Day we get a much better idea of how much flowers to have in stock,” Cornock said. “With Valentine’s Day, it’s mostly men, and we love them. But they want to keep it a surprise, so they don’t want to buy them early.”

It means that some men are out of luck when it comes to getting their partner’s favourites.

“The answer is to pre-order if you want to make sure you’ll get what you want,” Cornock said. “And it helps us, so we can get a better idea of how much to buy.”

READ ALSO: A rose is a rose, but a Saanich rose is Island gold

That said, demands are changing. It used to be straight roses. And while roses are still the most sought after, it’s become more common to pair roses with the sweetheart’s favourite flowers, or to purchase other flowers altogether.

“Just look how full we are, there’s no room,” Cornock said.

Working long days this week are Cornock, her partner, three staff and three more high school students on the night shift.

“We’ll have to send the students upstairs to our storage to prepare flowers, there’s no room down here.”

After 10 years in business on Oak Bay Avenue, Cornock still gets a tingly feeling of excitement when she sees a fresh arrangement. “I still love it, the colours still make me say, ‘Wow.’”

READ ALSO: One day to go: Last-second Valentine’s Day ideas

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ashley Beck returns to the Oak Bay Flower Shop twice a year, at Valentine’s and Mother’s days. On Feb. 13 and 14 there ends up being very little room to work at Oak Bay Flower Shop as customers, mostly men but of all demographics, flock to the shop. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Ashley Beck returns to the Oak Bay Flower Shop twice a year, at Valentine’s and Mother’s days. On Feb. 13 and 14 there ends up being very little room to work at Oak Bay Flower Shop as customers, mostly men but of all demographics, flock to the shop. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Just Posted

Dan Joseph shared a sunset picture looking out over the Fraser River. What does the sunset look like for you today (Mother’s Day). (Special to The News)
SHARE: What does the sunset look like for you tonight?

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Hikaru Ozduman won Outstanding Effort at the 33rd annual British Columbia Japanese Speech Contest. (SD42/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge student earns award for speech – in Japanese

The 33rd annual British Columbia Japanese Speech Contest was held virtually in March

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge man suggests those who flout COVID rules forego taxpayer health-care

People following rules to help end pandemic frustrated by those who don’t, letter writer says

Ken Nunes is one of hundreds who venture out onto Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park when the sun comes out. “Here’s how I see Maple Ridge,” he said. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Nice weather draws people to the water

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read