By Ryan Cornell
They drop the same line each year: "Oh, you don't need to get me anything."
Fortunately for them -- and local business -- most people understand they don't really mean it, and heaven help the ones who don't. The National Retail Federation estimates the average person will spend $134 for Valentine's Day and predicted total spending to reach $17.3 billion for the 2014 holiday.
So how much of a pinch will the cupid place on your wallet? Here are the average prices from stores around the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Depending on the size of the budget and relationship, Valentine's jewelry can range from $100 to $2,000.
Jean Plauger, owner of Jean's Jewelers in Front Royal, said that her bestselling item this year has been the fireflies diamond-within-a-diamond, retailing at about $1,000.
"Jewelry, I think, has become a little bit more popular [for Valentine's Day] because it's something that you look at continuously," she said.
Diamonds, rubies and "anything heart-shaped" are the popular sellers at Finks' Jewelry Store in Woodstock. Owner Rick Finks said he's noticing fewer people buying jewelry weeks in advance.
"Most guys come in looking to spend under $100 and they get surprised that silver and gold isn't under $100," he said.
Roses are red, violets are blue, if you don't give flowers, then you might be too. Lynn Selfridge, owner of Doghaus Blooms & Events in Strasburg, said the cost of her roses vary depending on the length of their stems. A vase of a dozen 80-centimenter red roses might cost $80, while the same arrangement of roses with 40-centimeter stems could cost $40.
The roses at Valley Flower Shop and Greenhouse Inc. in Woodstock hover around the same price. Owner Charles Hepner said they offer a vase of a dozen red roses for about $70 and a half-dozen for $37.50. Normally, he said they sell them for $50, but their wholesale prices basically double for the holiday.
"That's the highest they'll be the whole year," he said. "And it happens in just that period of time. After Valentine's Day, they start going down slowly, not immediately, but they'll start reducing."
What better way to celebrate the holiday of Saint Valentine, who was Roman, than to eat Italian? Violino Ristorante Italiano in Downtown Winchester offers Valentine's Day specials and a romantic atmosphere for a dinner out with that special someone.
The restaurant is fully booked on Friday, but manager and owner Rafaella Stocco said they offer the same specials on Saturday. She said the costs usually add up to between $35 and $40 per person for a meal including an appetizer, entrée, dessert and glass of wine.
"Every year, we try to get a little bit more romantic," Stocco said. "We just try to make it a really special night."
Stuffed animals and teddy bears aren't just for kids. Bearly Believable in Stephens City sells an array of bears in varying colors and sizes, including a 16-inch bear for $20. Some of them wear shirts or carry pillows with affectionate expressions such as "I Love You" or "Be Mine." For those searching for a more personal touch, the store also has a bear-stuffing machine that people can use for $13.
There's no shortage of Valentine's sweets in downtown Front Royal, where two new chocolate shops opened this year. Mike Bryzinski, owner of Choceet's Chocolate Boutique, said his store charges between $13 and $14 per pound for his Belgian chocolates, which are made in the store. The peanut butter truffle is a bestseller, though it's not beloved by everyone.
"My wife doesn't want it anymore because she gets it all the time," Bryzinski said.
At Katrina's Hallmark Shop in Woodstock, a wide range of Valentine's Day cards lay in shelves throughout the store. David McKay, who owns the store with his wife, said the cards range in price from 99 cents to $7.99.
"It's one of our biggest selections of cards, probably second or third after Christmas," he said. "Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are probably similar and Christmas is the biggest one."
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org