By Ethan Colbert
Heather Francis loves her job as a delivery driver, especially on Valentine’s Day. Francis works for Bouquet Florist in Bowling Green and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. she and her colleagues criss-crossed the city of Bowling Green and the surrounding countryside to make more than 100 deliveries to often unsuspecting recipients.
“They always have a smile on their faces,” Francis said in an interview with the Times on Thursday. “A lot of the time, they have shocked looks on their faces because they didn’t know they were getting any flowers.”
According to storeowner Barb Shinn, Valentine’s Day continues to be a busy day in Bowling Green as local residents shower one another symbols of their affections. Those symbols range from the timeless red rose to mixtures of pink and purple roses to Gerber daisies.
“Roses, in general, are still the most popular,” Shinn said. According to the local florist, she ordered 1,000 roses over various colors in January in preparation of the annual holiday.
Shoppers at Bouquet Florist continue to be a part of a national trend, according to the Society of American Florists.
According to an industry-wide study, red roses account for 69 percent of all flowers sent on Valentine’s Day floral arrangements.
Not long after she placed her order to the greenhouses, Shinn said she began receiving orders from men wishing to order flowers for their wives or significant others.
“The first order came in mid-January,” Shinn said. According to a 2017 study from the Society of American Florists, American men, over the age of 34, account for 41 percent of all flower orders on or for Valentine’s Day. Younger men, between the ages of 18-34, account for 38 percent of flower orders.
The orders continued sporadically, Shinn said with requests for arrangements of various shapes, sizes and colors, but the busiest day for ordering flowers was Monday of last week.
Shinn said that those early birds have learned over the years that by ordering their bouquets early, they give the local florist more time to ensure that each petal is in perfect condition.
“You try to have every order ready for the big day, but then you get exhausted,” Shinn said.
According to the staff of the floral business, the staff worked until 2:45 a.m. on Valentine’s Day and returned to the store at 7:30 a.m.
“People think that the flowers come already made and in the vases, but they don’t,” Shinn said. According to Shinn, flowers, such as roses, have to be dethorned, clipped, dipped in plant food, placed in a cooler at the right temperature.
“People don’t know all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into getting flowers ready for delivery,” Shinn said.
By 8 a.m., the first round of arrangements ready for delivery were out the door and headed towards some unsuspecting recipients.
Over the next several hours, a team of delivery drivers — Charles Hopke, Perry West, Teresa Reynolds, and Francis — would drive throughout Bowling Green, Frankford, Eolia, Curryville, and the surrounding countryside to deliver flowers.
Francis said that while the day is full of various stresses, which include ensuring that flowers are delivered on time to the correct person, she still enjoys the annual holiday.
“Delivering flowers actually brightens my day,” Francis said when asked if having to deliver flowers on Valentine’s Day ruined the holiday for her. “It’s fun. It’s stressful. It’s also a really great time to be at work because you get to see how excited people become when they see their flowers.”