LUBBOCK, Texas — For most people, Valentine’s Day means two things: flowers and candy. So naturally, businesses like candy shops, flower shops and bakeries, usually boom each year in the week ahead of the day of love. But what about during a pandemic?
Some local businesses said in that regard, this year is no different. Orders are already pouring in, and employees are busy at work cooking goodies and crafting floral creations to make Valentine’s Day a little sweeter for residents across the Hub City.
“[When you have] somebody walking through the door with flowers and they’re for you, you’re gonna get excited,” Jeannine Kelley, who works in customer service for flower shop Devault Floral, said.
Kelley said her flower shop has already started Valentine’s deliveries, and she expects business this year to be good just like last year, despite the pandemic. Surprisingly, she added, business has actually been good for them all year.
“We have been doing well. Things have been staying steady,” Kelley said.
Kelley also said that she thinks this steadiness is because people have been more “compassionate” and sentimental during the difficult year, sending flowers to loved ones for encouragement.
But as virus-related deaths soared, Kelley added that the shop also saw an increased number of grieving families, sometimes mourning multiple deaths at once.
“It’s been very emotional … As much as people might think that it’s a money maker, it’s not the way at all we want to make money,” Kelley said.
The pandemic has been especially hard on cookie shop Sugarista.
“It’s been a long rough year to say the least,” Kimberly Cantu, founder of Sugarista, said.
Cancelled graduations and plans last spring during its typical peak season nearly devastated the business, which had only celebrated about a year of being in the shop when the virus arrived in Lubbock.
“I lost every order on the books, so I had to take a step back, like, ‘How am I going to survive this?'” Cantu said.
However, she said things are looking up for her right now, and sales have gradually started to climb again since October. Her goal for her shop this Valentine’s Day is to try to hit last year’s sales.
“I feel for all the small business that have closed, and I know that a lot of them that are open, we’re still fighting the good fight,” Cantu laughed.