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Flower power: Westmont florists ready for Valentine's Day rush

WESTMONT – The three-day rush has begun at Phillip’s Flowers of Westmont.

While the florist admits December is the busiest month and Mother’s Day is the busiest week, Valentine’s Day holds claim to the busiest three-day stretch of the year before the lovers’ holiday.

“The volume is starting to pick up and continues to grow every day,” said Baxter Phillip, executive vice president of Phillip’s Flowers, with nine other west suburban locations in addition to the Westmont shop, 524 N. Cass Ave.

While some are way ahead of schedule – Phillip said the first Valentine’s Day order often come at the end of December – many others wait until the last minute to scoop up some flowers for their loved ones. For florists, the love fest brings about 10 times the normal volume, he said, adding that with this year’s romantic holiday falling on a Friday, the majority of deliveries have been scheduled throughout the week, mainly Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Beverly Zitkovich, manager of Phillip’s in Westmont, said the shop has already ordered about 72,000 roses for the week.

While orders of a dozen red roses are the most requested, this year there have been many requests for bright spring flower combinations, she said, such as orchids and spring tulips.

“We really like to have an emphasis on taking an average valentine arrangement and taking it up a level,” she said. “When you can really tell your sender thought out of the box and came up with something different … that’s where our focus tries to be.”

For those opting for the traditional dozen roses, Zitkovich recommended Russian Cut Roses.

“[They have] extra long fancy stems, large blooms, open more beautifully and are gorgeous in a vase display,” she said.

As for the holiday competition,Theresa Graventi of Westmont Floral, said her biggest competition comes from grocery stores rather than the third party national florist companies.

“It’s easy to have the one-stop shop and to just pick up flowers while shopping,” Graventi said.

The shop has been working hard and the Valentine’s Day orders have been piling up for her as well.

“We do not have as much walk-in [orders] but we do have a lot coming in through the website,” Graventi said.

Phillip said shoppers should consider a few things before purchasing flowers online, especially the guarantee. Local florists also provide better service and value, he said.

“We caution people to be realistic about fancy pictures and low prices [online],” Phillip said. “If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.”

While Phillip’s does business locally and nationally, Phillip said customers are still encouraged to visit their local Phillip’s shop in person.

“Nothing beats dropping by and picking something up yourself,” he said.

“[Flowers] are really a gift that says a lot emotionally and that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money,” Phillip said. “There’s just something about flowers between human beings that’s artistic … There’s nothing like it.”

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