WATSONVILLE — According to a report compiled by 1-800-Flowers in 2016, Valentine’s Day remains second only to Mother’s Day as the most popular flower-gifting holiday in the United States.
The floral industry sees an influx of sales in the days leading up to the holiday, and nowhere is this more apparent than in small, locally-owned businesses such as Betty’s Flowers and Gifts in Watsonville.
“Things are definitely picking up,” said Betty’s owner Daniel Alcantar. “And it’ll keep getting busier this afternoon, tomorrow and into Wednesday morning.”
Betty’s Flowers and Gifts opened in 1990. Daniel’s mother, Celia, passed the store along to him in 2006. The business, located at 531 Main St. in downtown Watsonville, has gained a loyal following of customers.
Watsonville resident Ray Welch visited Betty’s on Monday afternoon to buy his wife a bouquet of lilies. He said he appreciated the quality of the shop’s selection and how knowledgable the staff is.
“It’s also very convenient,” he added, regarding the location right on Main Street.
Alcantar said that in general, roses continue to be the most popular flower sold at this time of year. But other varieties such as lilies and carnations also see an increase in sales.
This year, the business has started offering new types of arrangements, which Alacantar describes as “retro,” with simple brown and tan wrapping.
“We do our best to tailor what we do to what our customers want,” he said. “Some just like to keep it simple.”
Betty’s is one of many small Watsonville shops that see a surge of business in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. While some residents will stop by larger grocery stores and outlets, many find going to a local, family-owned shop more appealing.
“It’s just nice to serve people in our community directly,” Alcantar said.
In addition to flower-buying, other events to celebrate Valentine’s are planned in Watsonville this year: Ella’s at the Airport is hosting a five-course Valentine’s Dinner on Wednesday from 5-7:30 p.m., and the GHWR Youth Center on Maple Avenue will be holding its annual Middle School Valentine’s Dance between 6-9 p.m.