BROOKFIELD, Conn. — Every year for Valentine’s Day, Flowers By Whisconier in Brookfield receives about 200 orders. And this year, the 15-year-old business is preparing for the same — or even more.
According to Christina Foley, who works as a wedding planner at the shop, the featured flower for this Valentine’s Day is the heart rose.
“It’s a German-cut rose that is a darker red color than the traditional rose,” said Foley, a Danbury resident. “It’s also called a cabbage rose because the petals flare out.
“It’s breathtaking because inside the rose, the petals actually form into the shape of a heart."
Aside from roses, which are always the most popular flower for Valentine’s Day, a second favorite are tulips.
“I think people like the tulip because it’s a spring flower so it gets people in the mood for spring,” said Amelia Soderquist of Newtown, who owns the business.
“They're a breed of their own,” she said, coming in many different colors such as pink, purple, yellow and white.
If properly cared for, roses can last up to a week-and-a-half, while tulips should last five days.
When caring for flowers, “be sure to give them fresh water every day. The water should be cold and filled to the rim of the vase. ... If you don’t replenish the water, the stems will die faster," Soderquist said.
The three-person shop arranges all of its bouquets on the premises, by hand.
Although Valentine's Day is still two weeks away, the flower shop is already beginning to get orders.
“Last year, we made 125 arrangements for Valentine’s Day. We had a line out the door the entire week of Valentine’s Day,” Soderquist recalled.
Her customers are as young as teenagers and range in age up to senior citizens.
“Every year, I have 200 roses that I save for the 'last-minute boys,'" as Soderquist calls them -- "and they know that."
According to Soderquist, independent flower shops are becoming dinosaurs — as they are replaced by large online corporations.
However, she said, there are many advantages to purchasing flowers from independently owned stores.
“When flowers are shipped out from a large online corporation, they are in boxes and are transferred onto a truck that has no heating or cooling system, which can harm flowers.
“If the person who is receiving the flowers isn't home, the flowers are left outside to freeze," she said.
At Flowers By Whisconier, the delivery van is kept inside the 2,000-square-foot heated warehouse.
Also, before delivering the flowers, "We always call the person who ordered them to make sure someone will be home to receive them. If no one is home when we come, we will bring them back to the store and re-deliver them once the receiver comes home,” Foley said.
Soderquist feels her shop has survived because it has expanded its services to include events.
“We provide flowers for all sized weddings, bar mitzvahs, baby and bridal showers as well as funerals and any other occasion,” she said.
But even as the shop gears up for Valentine's Day, you may be surprised to learn that it is not the shop’s best-selling holiday — it comes in second place.
The top-selling holiday? It's Mother’s Day, according to Soderquist.
Once a year, Flowers By Whisconier provides free flowers for the wedding of a family in need.