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Flower sales blooming

Florists say pandemic seems to spark a desire for some beauty at home

SISTERS KAREN CERASOLI, LEFT, and Linnea Marchetti arrange flowers ahead of Valentine’s Day at Linnea & Kristine in downtown Iron Mountain. Since the shop will be closed on the holiday Sunday, they were making sure to have everything ready for pickup or delivery today. The two own the store with sister Kristine Cohodes. (Brian Christensen/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — While the coronavirus pandemic might be expected to put a damper on Valentine’s Day, some local florists say they’re actually seeing good demand for fresh flowers.

Sisters Linnea Marchetti, Kristine Cohodes and Karen Cerasoli, owners of Linnea & Kristine in downtown Iron Mountain, believe flower and plant sales have increased despite COVID-19 — or perhaps due to it.

The store closed at the end of March for a little more than two months but has been open since taking orders for Mother’s Day last May.

“Christmas was unbelievable busy,” Marchetti said, adding gifts such as candles, books and cards were usually bestsellers during the holiday season but flowers were the most popular item last year.

“Everybody ordered flowers for their dining tables,” Marchetti said. “(People) were all at home, they weren’t traveling to see family. They all made it as nice as they could under the circumstances.”

THE FLORAL DEPARTMENT in Tadych’s Family Market in Iron Mountain also has worked to meet the anticipated Valentine’s Day demand. (Brian Christensen/Daily News photo)

Even with the demand during Christmas, however, the sisters were not sure what to expect for Valentine’s Day.

“Normally, when Valentine’s falls on a Sunday, it’s not as busy,” Marchetti said. “In ordering flowers this year, we decided not to scale back. I was a little nervous about that, but we are busy.”

“People are buying more flowers than ever,” Cerasoli said.

“I think it’s because people can’t see each other,” Marchetti said. “They want everybody to know they’re thinking about them.”

The owners make sure the store is regularly sanitized for customers. Linnea & Kristine also offers curbside service and still delivers flowers, even to nursing and retirement homes.

“They’re all set up for us,” Cohodes said.

“We’ll do whatever people are comfortable with,” Marchetti said.

Ever the favorite, red roses are the popular choice for Valentine’s Day this year, the sisters said.

“We’ll have an array of beautiful flowers that (people) can choose from, and they’ll say, ‘They’re nice, but I’ll take the traditional red,” Cohodes said.

“A lot of people like mixed bouquets, but we always include some roses in them,” Marchetti said.

The sisters stress that Valentine’s Day is not just for couples but for everyone.

“Mothers, grandmas,” Cohodes said.

“People gift their children, even,” Marchetti said. “(Valentine’s) is a nice, bright spot in a cold time of the year. You almost need it.”

“Mother’s Day is the biggest week for us, but Valentine’s Day is a close second. This year, it’s really special,” Marchetti added. “I feel like we’re doing a service.”

“Our customers have told us we’re essential,” Cohodes said.

“Flowers help in a bad situation.” Marchetti said. “They make people feel better. It’s psychology.”

Linnea & Kristine will be closed Sunday but is open today.

The floral department in Tadych’s Family Market also rushed to meet the demand of the holiday.

Floral Department Manager Teresa Baciak has 20 years of floral experience, though this is her first year at Tadych’s. Like Linnea & Kristine, Baciak ordered more flowers for her department than the previous year, though she acknowledged Valentine’s Day would be “completely unpredictable.”

Initially, Baciak worried she might not have any flowers — ordered in December — to sell for Valentine’s Day.

“The farmers didn’t have bodies to plant product,” Baciak said. “If you don’t have product, you don’t harvest product.”

But everything Baciak ordered was delivered on time. It’s too early for her to say how sales will compare with years past.

“A lot of the business here is walk-in,” Baciak said, adding “That’s what our customers come in for, the grab-and-go. They come in and get their wrapped bouquets and get out.”

Tadych’s floral department does offer vased arrangements as well as curbside pickup and delivery seven days a week, but Baciak does not recommend waiting until last minute to order a dozen roses.

“Your first choice might not be available,” Baciak said. “It’s good to have a Plan B and C. We have lots of different options, lots of different price points. Just be flexible.”

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