02/13/12 If you are among those that wait until the last minute to find the perfect gift for your â€śvalentineâ€ť, you are in luck if you live in Plymouth and the surrounding areas. Several local businesses have been gearing up for the Valentineâ€™s Day rush.
Chris Felke, Felke Florist, said they no doubt use more than 2,000 roses between now and Valentineâ€™s Day on Tuesday. According to Felke, they keep careful records on how many orders they have received over the years and alter their purchases if Valentineâ€™s Day falls on a weekend or a weekday.
He said many other types of flowers are becoming more popular, in addition to roses. He said both orchids and Gerbera daisies are among the new favorites.
Felke said, â€śThe internet has changed everything.â€ť He said, although many people wait until the last minute, there has been an increase in orders already since customers can place an order on the website.
Felke said the family tradition in the floral business started in 1854. Now, the fifth generation works out of the store on Michigan Street. The florists first set up shop in Plymouth in 1922.
With deliveries all over the county, Felke said they have three delivery trucks running. He said, â€śWe hire police personnel during the delivery rush since they are familiar with the streets. He said, â€śThey really like to help out because they say itâ€™s a chance to make people happy instead of angry.â€ť
The store is filled with other gift ideas as well including jewelry, planters and chocolates.
Lori and Brian Van Dyne distributed a flyer with a variety of ideas and jewelry available at Fernbaughâ€™s. Brain said, â€śWe made it easy by offering a dinner for two at the Brass Rail, a rose from Felke Florist, and chocolates for anyone purchasing $99 or more at our store.â€ťÂ Lori said, â€śWe offer many choices including our Kamleon line of interchangeable pieces.â€ť
According to Lori, Valentineâ€™s Day is a popular day for engagements. She said, â€śWe have sold a number of engagement rings in the last few days.â€ťÂ â€śSome know exactly what they want, others come in with pictures, and some are â€śjust cluelessâ€ť as to what their intended would like.â€ť Brian said, â€śWe love to help them out. We even give them a copy of â€śTwenty Ways to Pop the Questionâ€ť to make it easier.
The couple opened up Fernbaughâ€™s in Plymouth in 2006.
Diana and Greg Nielsen, owners of A.S. K. For Flowers, couldnâ€™t be happier than to have their business in downtown Plymouth. Greg said they will use over 1,800 roses in their arrangements for Valentineâ€™s Day. They have seen an increase in orders for lilies and tulips and have 6-10 suppliers to ensure that customers can get just what they want.
He said, â€śAlthough we have a lot of last minute requests, many people love to have flowers sent to businesses or the work sites, so will order well in advance.â€ťÂ The Nielsen’sâ€™ just opened up an adjacent room that is filled with gourmet chocolates, vases, Melissa and Doug childrenâ€™s toys, and many other gift items.
A.S. K for Flowers has been at the Plymouth location for the past 15 years and delivers all over the county.
Nancy King of Kingâ€™s Jewelry grew up in the business since her parents, Eugene and Joanne Cook, owned Cookâ€™s Jewelry in Knox for 42 years. Kingâ€™s in downtown Plymouth has been in business for nearly 25 years, and they still love helping their customers any way they can. Nancy said, â€śWe tweak our stock to accommodate people with what they can afford.â€ť In addition to their extensive selections of fine jewelry, they have several lines of â€śfashionâ€ť pieces including the popular Pandora line. She said people have started shopping a little earlier and they have sold several engagement rings over the past couple of weeks.
Nancy said many shoppers are loving a new line of â€śHersheyâ€™s Kissesâ€ť offered in a variety of metals and shaped into candy like pieces.
The Brass Rail is expecting to serve meals to over 200 diners on Valentineâ€™s Day. Owner Dave Langdon said itâ€™s fun to have a reason to serve a special prime rib and shrimp dinner for the occasion on a weekday night.
Langdon said, â€śEven after 26 years in business, itâ€™s still fun.â€ť He added, â€śWe always have great crowds on the weekends and this is like a â€śbonus dayâ€ť when people are out celebrating.
Kelly Manson, one of the managers at The Coffee Lodge and Bakery on EastÂ Jefferson Street , said Valentineâ€™s Day in 2011 was their biggest chocolate sales day. They feature a wide variety of South Bend Chocolates and can even offer their customers the option of hand choosing what they want in their fancy gold boxes.
Besides the chocolate line, they have rolls, breakfast items, sandwiches and other foods for their customers to enjoy in the store or carry out.
The Coffee Lodge has become a popular place since they opened in December of 2010 for those wanting gourmet coffees from Hoosier Roaster coffees or specialty teas from the Metropolitan Tea Company.
Carol Anders Correspondent