Money can’t buy you love, but it sure helps

Lindsay Pfister arranges a dozen red roses for Valentine's Day inside her shop, Strasburg Florist, on West King Street in Strasburg on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Whether you’ve been with your loved one for 40 years, 40 months or 40 days, Valentine’s Day is here. So how much is it going to cost to profess your love this year?

According to a Fox Business article published Feb.10, Americans spent $17.3 billion last Valentine’s Day, with $133.91 per partner for gifts, candies, flowers, cards and dinners. Men spent an average of $168.74 on gifts, compared to women, who spent $85.76.

Locally, a dozen roses tend to go for about $70 this year. Lindsey Pfister, owner of Strasburg Florist, said the old mainstay continues to be the season’s biggest selling item.

“The dozen roses is always the main seller at Valentine’s Day,” Pfister said. “They’re running about $70 for the 70-centimeter true long stem roses. We can do red, white, pink… we even had rainbow roses but they sold out fast this year.”

Pfister said she has also gotten orders for various arrangements, ranging from $25 to $40 arrangements. She said she tries to offer arrangements to satisfy all budgets and this year’s sales are not very different from last year’s, in terms of volume and clientele.

“There’s not a lot of women getting their husbands roses, but a lot of women will order for their friends or their kids,” Pfister said. “I find a lot of those women are the same who really want somebody to get them roses.”

Julia Comer, owner of Main Street Flowers and Gifts in Mount Jackson, said she her biggest sellers are also a dozen traditional roses, fetching for $65, or the rainbow roses, which sell for $75. Comer said business is “about the same” as last year.

Chocolate runs anywhere between $4.50 to $25, depending on the type and quantity. Immortal Mountain Chocolates, a chocolate making business owned by Andrew and Cadyn Speziale in Front Royal, offers dark organic 1.5 ounce chocolate bars for $4.50 a piece at five retailers throughout the region and on the Internet.

Andrew Speziale said while this is the first Valentine’s Day he’s been in business, it’s been more sweet than better.

“I never really thought much of Valentine’s Day before, but [it] provides a great late winter boost in sales,” Speziale said. “We introduced a citrus bar this Christmas and it seems to be doing well for Valentine’s Day, too.”

At Shenandoah Fine Chocolates in Winchester, Janelle Goulah has survived four Valentine’s Days as a clerk. She said this year there has been a decline in heart-shaped candy boxes and an up tick in sales for the $25 12-piece rectangular boxes adorned with ribbons.

Goulah said the shop offers a heart-shaped box made out of chocolate for $19.95.

“It’s a solid piece of chocolate with a chocolate lid and you can fill it with even more chocolate,” she said, with a laugh. “We also have coco powder in different colors we can paint the box with, too.”

Guys are still forking over the cash for chocolate, Goulah said.

“I’d say majority of customers have been gentlemen, but we’ve also had a lot of females coming in to get chocolate for their kids and their husbands, too,” Goulah said.

Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, is also a day when a lot of questions are popped, not just about where to eat or which movie to catch, but about matrimony. Rick Fink, owner of Fink’s Jewelry Store in Woodstock, said the “diamond council” has set the price of engagement rings at “two month’s pay,” or between $500 and $2,000.

“White gold and diamonds are still our biggest seller,” Fink said. “We usually see a lot of engagements this time of year and since we’re a traditional jeweler, a lot of couples come to us for a traditional ring.”

Fink said this year’s Valentine’s Day rush has been a little slower than year’s past, but he’s happy with it over all. He said he does have a piece of advice for suitors looking to make the plunge.

“If the lady shops with you for the ring, she tends to talk you out of spending more money,” Fink said with a laugh. “Also, watch out for contemporary metals like titanium, tungsten, cobalt and ceramic because they’re not sizeable. If you buy any of those metals, you have to stay the same size. So guys, know your girlfriend’s size.”

Jean Plauger, owner of Jean’s Jewelers in Front Royal and Strasburg, said Valentine’s Day this year has been “strange.”

“Normally, diamonds are on the menu, but it’s a little different this year,” Plauger said. “It’s been all over the store this year … they’re doing watches, pearls, golden ear rings … diamond rings aren’t in this year.”

Plauger added, “But we’re making really nice sales, we’re doing well, but it’s just not one thing. We’re selling numerous things to numerous age groups of people.”

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com