Moments Flower Shop Owner Remains Optimistic About Valentine’s Day Rush – SanBenito.com
Moments Flower Shop owner and florist Jeanette Melita is gearing up for what she hopes will be a busy Valentine’s Day weekend. This usually means flower arrangement orders should start pouring in within the next few days.
But in these strange times, it’s still hard to pinpoint exactly when she’ll start getting inundated with those phone calls and messages.
“It’s hard because men are so last minute,” Melita said with a laugh. “I mean come on Saturday, Sunday we’re going to be… It’s so hard to say right now because of Covid.”
Another concern she has is that Super Bowl LVI happens on the same weekend as Valentine’s Day. It’s all thanks to the NFL extending its regular season from 17 to 18 weeks.
She fears people are focusing on gambling rather than placing orders with less than a week until Valentine’s Day.
It’s not just the lack of orders. The shelf life is not very long and the cost of flowers as well as durable goods such as balloons, candy and stuffed dolls has increased by at least 35% due to the pandemic.
According to CBS News, flower prices have risen because some growers have closed. The report said he forced New York florist Banchet Jaigla to raise prices by around 20%.
The advantage for Melita is that most of her flowers don’t end up in the cooler like some of the larger retail stores. She has built strong relationships with local breeders and she receives fresh cut flowers, which might last a little longer on display.
“I’m a little scared, but I think God will bless us,” she said. “You have to have faith that ultimately you are doing this for a reason.”
The 43-year-old San Jose native moved to San Benito County just over 15 years ago.
She spent 10 years as a cake decorator at longtime Bay Area grocery chain PW Supermarket, which abruptly closed in 2010, and five years at Nob Hill in Hollister.
Melita left the bakery department and ventured into flower arranging, which quickly became a passion for her.
“I guess I just have a little art in me somewhere,” she said.
In 2018, she opened Moments Flower Shop at 731 San Benito Street, between the Bella Mia lounge and the AJ Sushi restaurant. But it had to downsize due to the Covid-19 pandemic and overhead was expensive.
Melita packed her bags and moved her operations to a more manageable location at 575 Monterey Street. It was still a difficult time for business, especially with the emergence of new variants of Covid-19.
After the Covid restrictions were lifted, Melita remained open for six months and she was devising a plan to keep her store open.
She returned to work in the evenings in Nob Hill, while keeping her business open during the day to keep it afloat. Melita quit her side job two months ago in the hope that business will pick up.
“It’s hard to own a small business during this time because big businesses, I feel like they bring [in the business] and we just try to stay above water,” Melita said.
Another challenge is that although Hollister is growing day by day, she believes local residents still tend to shop out of town.
“I feel like it was the hardest part. [part]I think,” Melita said.
The good news for Melita is that Valentine’s Day is one of two holidays, with Mother’s Day being the other, which becomes the busiest time for her.
Spending on Valentine’s Day is expected to hit $23.9 billion this year, up from $21.8 billion in 2021 and the second-highest year on record, according to the annual survey released Jan. 31 by National Retail. Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics.
According to the survey, shoppers expect to spend an average of $175.41 per person on Valentine’s Day gifts, up from $164.76 in 2021.
The sales that Melita makes from Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day help tremendously. But as strange as it may seem, she admits to doing this job because it really makes people smile.
“You don’t own a flower shop to get rich, you own it because it serves a certain purpose,” Melita said. “It’s a passion and you don’t want to give up on your dream.”
And despite all the adversity she had to overcome, Melita said she wanted to be in this mad dash until the wheels fell off.
“Hold on until you can’t take it anymore,” she said. “I’m not there yet.”