These merchants are preparing to meet the demands of consumers who plan to lavish attention on loved ones Thursday, Feb. 14.
Executive Director Tamaka Hudson, Polk County Chamber of Commerce, said Valentine’s Day is a good reason for businesses to do something new and reach a different segment of their customer base.
She said people love different things and any holiday is an opportunity to market non-traditional gift items.
“It is wonderful when store owners take the initiative to think outside the box,” she said.
Morgan Hardware, owned by Scott and Janice Kinney, is the place to find a different gift for the gardener or individual preparing for a lawn that will be the envy of neighbors.
Shoppers can find weed eaters, leaf blowers, chain saws and garden tools displayed in this business.
“We also offer gift certificates for the man that loves to come in and get what he wants,” Janice Kinney said.
However, the most popular purchase among Polk County shoppers continues to be the traditional cards, flowers and candy.
“I prefer to buy flowers for my family,” said Julie Jones. “I have my favorite store and I don’t believe anything says love like a bouquet of red roses.”
Local florists and gift shops are prepared to meet the demands of people like Julie.
Aragon Florist & Gifts, 2647 Rome Highway, is filled with merchandise to please local and out of town shoppers.
Everyone is invited to stop by this local store, which has been in busines for 12 years.
Dee Evans, owner of Rockmart Florist & Gifts, 303 West Elm Street, said he is ready for Valentine’s Day.
“We did great business in 2012,” he said. “We hope this year will be as good.”
Evans is happy the holiday is on a weekday instead of the weekend. It helps when this happens, he said.
Consumers can find not only fresh flowers, including roses and tulips, but stuffed animals and candy at this local store.
Chuck Leathers, owner of Whitehead’s Flower & Gift House, 211 East Elm Street, said the welcome mat is spread at his business.
He invites everyone to come for a visit and choose a preferred gift that will convey a message of love.
“We have balloons, stuffed animals, flowers and more for your favorite valentine,” he said.
Todd Bussey owns Bussey’s Florist & Gifts, 302 Main Street.
A large shipment of roses from Ecuador has been received, which Bussey said would give opportunity for competitive pricing.
He also has traditional gifts of candy and specialty items such as candles.
Each of these merchants hopes the holiday sales will boost their bottom line.
Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation has released its 2013 economic forecast. It projects retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 3.4 percent, slightly less than the preliminary 4.2 percent growth seen in 2012.