“Organized chaos” is how Carol Staples describes her business this week.
As the owner of Flowers by Frances, 2424 Vine, Staples and her staff — with the help from many family members and friends — are expecting 300 Valentine's Day orders to go out by the end of today, with another 100 out the door Tuesday.
“I would say over the three days, it’s the highest volume,” Staples said. “And the Lord has blessed us with awesome weather, so that helps us out a lot.”
Business was steady already Tuesday morning, as customers trickled in to custom-order floral arrangements or pick a premade selection from the shop’s coolers.
Two of the boutique’s featured Valentine specials already had sold out early this week, but there will be plenty of arrangements to choose from today, she said, noting walk-in custom orders also can be filled on the spot today.
Additional help also is called in this week — mostly family and friends of Staples and store manager Trinity Atherton. Staples’ adult children and their spouses are on-hand helping this week, as is her best friend. Atherton’s husband also steps in to help during the busy week.
“My family and friends mean the world to me,” Staples said. “I’m always overwhelmed by how generous they are.”
Extra shipments of fresh flowers were to arrive Tuesday and today to help meet the increased demand, and three delivery vehicles will be sent out today.
A back workroom was a bustling place Tuesday morning. With the aroma of roses hanging in the air, staff members worked at a quick pace to trim and assemble floral arrangements.
“This is where the magic happens, back here,” Staples said.
The floral shop has been open since the 1950s, and Staples and Atherton have a combined 65 years of experience in the trade. They might have mastered the Valentine’s Day rush, but the biggest threat is something they cannot control — the weather.
Many people aren’t aware how global the flower industry is, Staples said, but merchandise comes to Hays from as far as California and South America. Wildfires and natural disasters in California this year temporarily have taken out a few large producers, causing the shop to increase orders from other parts of the world, she said.
Local weather also can be a determining factor. A blizzard 15 years ago almost halted Valentine’s Day deliveries, Staples said, noting staff still filled as many orders as possible that day.
So today’s forecast of mostly sunny skies and a high near 70 degrees was welcome news for the local florists.
“Weather is the biggest deal on Valentine’s Day for any florist,” she said. “And I feel so bad for the ones when I hear they have a blizzard, because then I know they’re in trouble. But we’re not going to have that this year.”