Florists in Maine were at work Monday preparing for one of their busiest days of the year – Valentine’s Day – while dealing with a major snowstorm that chilled flower sales and disrupted deliveries.

With much of the state blanketed by snow that fell from midday Sunday into Monday afternoon, and many businesses, schools and government offices shut down, florists said they were doing as much business as possible and getting ready to scramble Tuesday to make up for the disruption. One florist said her shop was sitting on tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of fresh flowers that should have been delivered already, and another said he expected to lose thousands of dollars in business because of the storm.

“The roads down here are groomed quite well, so we have our drivers out delivering,” said Karin Allen, controller for Harmon’s & Barton’s in Westbrook. “A lot of businesses are closed today, though, so we’re going to have to get a lot of deliveries out tomorrow.”

Allen said it was quiet in the store Monday, and she expects the store to get “bombed” with phone calls and walk-in traffic Tuesday once people finish shoveling. She anticipated close to 1,000 deliveries on Valentine’s Day.

“Mother Nature doesn’t know that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so it’s going to be pretty crazy tomorrow,” she said. “Everybody calls at the last minute.”

Scott O’Brien, owner of Augusta Florist, said he stayed at a hotel in the capital city Sunday rather than be forced to drive from his home in Waterville to his shop on Mount Vernon Avenue in a blizzard Monday morning. He picked up a few of his designers on his way to the store from the hotel and was busy filling orders since early Monday morning.


He said they weren’t doing any deliveries Monday because of the storm, but will have extra drivers contracted to help make all the deliveries by the end of the day Tuesday.

“Today is normally a big delivery day, and the phones are starting to ring here now,” O’Brien said. “I’m sure it’ll be a madhouse here tomorrow with people parked all along the avenue.”

But he said that even with his fresh stock, he expects to lose thousands of dollars in business because of the storm.

He much prefers Mother’s Day.

“It’s on a Sunday in May, so you have a few days before to make sure it gets to mom by then,” O’Brien said. “If you’re a florist in Miami, you’re not as stressed today.”

He also likes it when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday because the Legislature is usually in session and staffers fill the state office buildings.


“Once the state offices close, we’re in trouble because so many of our deliveries go to the state,” O’Brien said.

Minott’s Flowers in Portland had employees working in shifts Monday, and store manager Ashley Dyer said there was a lot of telephone business.

But many of the shop’s orders go to businesses or offices that were closed Monday, so drivers are going to be doing a lot of backtracking Tuesday to get everything delivered, she said.

“We gave a courtesy call to all our customers who were scheduled for Monday delivery telling them we would try,” Dyer said. “We’ve been able to get a lot of runs done, but since none of the businesses are open, a lot of them are being held until tomorrow.”

In Waterville, Dave Lagrange said that despite the heavy snowfall Monday morning, a customer came into KMD Florist & Gift House looking for a special Valentine’s Day order.

Lagrange had planned to make about 10 deliveries Monday, with the remaining orders set for Tuesday.


“We’d normally have triple our regular crew, but most of them can’t get in today,” he said. “We’re going to see how much we can pack into one day that is usually spread over two days.”

All of the florists admitted that if it weren’t the day before Valentine’s Day, they probably wouldn’t have opened their shops Monday. They also said that despite the bad weather of the past week, their products are in good shape.

Dyer said all the flowers from Minott’s wholesaler in Rhode Island were delivered by Sunday and are “fresh and nice.” Lagrange said his orders are “looking great and are as fresh as they can get.”

Despite the challenges the storm has thrown at them, the florists are optimistic that most of the orders will be fulfilled and delivered in time for people to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their loved ones.

“We’re sitting on about $40,000 worth of fresh flowers that we’ve already purchased and normally they’d be all gone already,” said Allen of Harmon’s & Barton’s, which also has a store in Portland. “Flower shops have a low profit margin to begin with, but we’re hoping for the best.”

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