Chocolatiers, florists see business boom during pandemic – MetroWest Daily News

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Chocolatiers, florists see business boom during pandemic – MetroWest Daily News

Alison Bosma (abosma@gannet.com)  |  MetroWest Daily News In a year that hit many businesses hard, at least some local florists and chocolatiers say t

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Alison Bosma (abosma@gannet.com)
 |  MetroWest Daily News

In a year that hit many businesses hard, at least some local florists and chocolatiers say the 2021 Valentine’s Day holiday is turning out to be their best — ever.

“We are doing better than ever,” said Kerri Nealley, owner of Petal and Crumb in Upton. “There’s not a lot of going out, or going out to eat, so I think flowers are taking the place this year.”

At Green Mountain Chocolate Company in Hopedale and Franklin, owner Lisa Campbell is seeing similar success.

“Our business has been booming in the chocolate industry,” she said. “People have been buying for themselves, buying for others, buying for co-workers. …. We have found our chocolate sales definitely have increased.”

Chocolate is comforting, Campbell said. After months of uncertainty, fear and isolation, people are looking for comfort.

With Valentine’s Day on the Sunday heading into school vacation this year, Hopkinton’s Sunnyside Gardens florist Carol Hurley said she would have predicted a quieter holiday if it wasn’t for the pandemic.

On Friday morning, she said she was busy.

“Each Valentine’s Day is different,” she said. “Usually, when it’s on a Sunday, it’s a quiet …. because people go away for the weekend.”

Her busiest Valentine’s Days are on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, she said.

Still, Hurley pointed out, the pandemic cost the flower industry a lot of orders that would have come from weddings, showers or other group celebrations.

“With COVID, it’s a very different situation for all of us,” she said. “Who knows? …. We’ll be prepared with lots of beautiful flowers.”

At Petal Pushers in Natick, partner Liam Porter said orders are well above last Valentine’s Day.

“(People) can’t really see each other,” he said. “They’re sending flowers.”

Porter and others said Valentine’s Day hasn’t been their only success this year. Last May on Mother’s Day, the Natick shop saw double the orders compared to the year before.

“This past Christmas was our biggest Christmas,” Campbell said.

Last Easter wasn’t as successful as the year before, Campbell said, but it was better than expected, and customers were grateful to find someplace that was open.

“Our employees are great,” she said, adding that her team has carefully kept to COVID-19 protocols. “They’re so conscientious and they’re such a tight team. I really can’t say enough about them.”

Though many florists and chocolatiers are open Saturday and Sunday for in-person or curbside pickup, options are limited, and some places, like Green Mountain Chocolate, have opted to close Sunday.

“We really appreciate orders coming in early,” Porter said. “The majority of the orders every single year, 65, 70%, come in the day before, day of. At that point it’s … the flowers are going. There are only so many roses available.”

So next year, order earlier, he said.

Last minute shopping? Here’s a sampling of what’s open locally this weekend.

Note that shops have limits on how many people can be inside at a time.

Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-634-7582 or abosma@wickedlocal.com. Find her on Twitter at @AlisonBosma.

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