SAN ANTONIO – If you intend to show your affection for your sweetheart with a big bouquet of romantic red roses, Cupid’s arrow is pointed at your wallet. Prices are up because the pandemic reduced supplies, florists say.
Take heart, though. Local florists’ coolers are filled with flowers.
“There are going to be plenty of flowers available. There is a shortage of roses,” said Jack Cross, owner of Arthur Pfeil Smart Flowers on West Ashby.
Still, there are roses available, just not the glut of roses seen in recent years, he said.
It’s a global shortage rooted in the pandemic. Growers couldn’t tend their fields when COVID-19 first appeared. Labor shortages and transportation issues caused problems along the supply chain.
Now that demand is high, so are prices.
“We are seeing much larger increases on the wholesale cost that we have to pay for roses than I have seen in 35 years of doing this,” Cross said.
He said he can’t afford to lose customers by doubling the cost of roses, so he’ll absorb most of the increase this year. Still, he says customers can expect to pay $10 to $15 more than last year.
Another shortage is a thorn for florists -- glass. It’s been a challenge to get vases for the arrangements.
“Hard goods -- that’s what I would say we’re more short on and having to pay so much in shipping, too,” said Gina Clarke, co-owner of The Floral Basket on Babcock Road.
Vases, when they can get them, cost them twice what they were paying a year ago. As for flowers, they have plenty, though they did cost more on the wholesale market.
They, too, are absorbing the bulk of their cost increases, passing along some to the customer.
Valentine’s Day, a big deal for florists, is a challenge this year. So it couldn’t hurt to show them some love, too.
“I say what helps the florist is people ordering in advance,” Clarke said.
It can also help to be open to substitutions, designer’s choices and doing something less traditional. Red may rule the day, but pink can be pretty romantic, too.
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