Richmond florists adapt to supply chain issues to meet Valentine’s Day demand, urge ordering early

Valentine’s Day is in a week, but the most popular gift could be harder to find this year.
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 5:56 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Valentine’s Day is in a week, but the most popular gift could be harder to find this year. Florists in Richmond are working around the clock to fill orders, forced to adapt to shortages and supply chain issues to make sure business still blooms on their busiest day of the year.

Many flower shops have run into supply chain and transportation issues this year. Owner of Vogue Flowers, Steve Papoulakos, says there’s no shortage of flowers at his market, but there’s a lot of challenges they’ve had to overcome. He’s still gearing up for the biggest business day of the year.

“Right now, we’re doing a lot of prepping,” he said. “Saturday and Sunday, we will be sometimes staying until midnight, one o’clock, two o’clock in the morning.”

Amid a pandemic, 2022 Valentine’s Day presented several obstacles.

“This year was more challenging with the lack of supplies, glassware and all the supplies to create the hard goods,” Papoulakos said. “COVID, transportation issues...that’s where we were afraid that we’re not going to have enough products.”

Luckily, Vogue has hundreds of thousands of flowers on hand.

“We have every flower you can imagine,” Papoulakos said.

Florists like Papoulakos and Victoria Zachary at Flowerama have to prepare 3-4 months ahead of time.

“Farms are having their shortages with a lack of people for harvesting flowers, lack of people for shipping flowers,” Zachary said. “They were really pushing us this year to get the orders in early.”

The fridges at Flowerama are stocked, but Zachary has had to be patient throughout the process.

“With COVID and with the decline in workers, and the decline in tractor-trailer operators, and the decrease in flights flying the product...if those flights are canceled or delayed, then, of course, flowers don’t get here,” Zachary said.

Both flower shops have all hands on deck to pull it all off, staying late and bringing in extra staff and delivery drivers.

“I’ve been doing it for so many years, and it doesn’t get old. There’s always something to look forward to, even though sometimes you’ll get tired,” Papoulakos said. “Everybody’s like a champ. They’ll do the best, and we’ll do our best to satisfy our customers.”

Both Flowerama and Vogue Flowers are encouraging ordering as early as possible.

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