NOTE: REPOST FROM PREVIOUS WEBSITE
With Valentine's Day coming up next week, no doubt men and women all over the country will be purchasing some beautiful blooms to demonstrate their love for that special someone - but why do the prices go up at Valentine's? The simple answer supply and demand.
It is estimated that 133.2 million roses were imported to Canada in 2016 for Valentine's Day mostly from Columbia and Ecuador, and in 2015 Canada contributed 5.38 million roses to the Valentine celebrations *. That's a LOT of roses for ONE day. Sending flowers a day or two later just won't cut it. It's hard to imagine any other "one item" that is more in demand on just "one day" out of the year.
On average during the year (not including peak times - Valentine's Day / Mother's Day) a florist in the Edmonton area will pay approx. $1.09 to $2.99 wholesale a stem depending on variety, colour and the farm it is coming from, but during Valentine's our costs can range from $1.69 to $5.29 again depending on the variety and where it is coming from and this does not include local shipping costs. So why such a jump? For this we will have to travel the way of the rose.
Immediately after Christmas growers will cut back their rose crops. If they don't, there simply won't be enough roses available to fulfill the Valentine demand, so for approx. 10-12 weeks before Valentine's Day the growers are not shipping out any roses, but when it does come time to harvest those beauties growers need a lot of extra staff to harvest them which is still done manually at many farms, process them and pack them. The costs of that break in production and the extra staff needed to implement such a vast harvest are passed on to the consumers.
Regardless of which form of transportation the roses take to get to their destination, plane or truck, moving that volume of flowers all within a 7-10 day period requires companies to hire extra planes, trucks and drivers to meet the demand. Companies pay for extra flights to transport the volume and get it to the consumers in a timely manner. Those extra costs are billed to the end buyer and each one will pay a different amount depending on the volume they are bringing in and where they are delivering to - urban vs rural. In some cases a rose will travel by truck to airport - by plane across the ocean - then by truck to the wholesalers or delivery hub - then by truck again to the florists shop thousands of miles from it's originating point.
On this end of the route florist also have extra transportation costs as some shops have to hire extra drivers to do the deliveries and paying these temporary workers is an expense that doesn't always come cheap as you need to pay for truck rentals, extra insurance, gas and the wages.
Paying for a Service
You can pay lower prices at Costco or at grocery stores because they can buy directly from the farms cutting out a few middle men and they buy in BULK. Massive amounts that they distribute to all their stores across the county. But they will never give you a personalized experience. What a florist offers is personal service, an artistic element of design, education on how to get a long vase life from the flowers and the opportunity to have them delivered. Yes florists charge more but we do more, we have more overhead and staffing costs per arrangement than the big box stores. We bring in extra staff to meet the demand, and we spend hours primping and preening all the petals, stripping the thorns, washing the vases, tying the ribbons and designing our passion into a piece of floral art. Florists rely on Valentine's Day and Mother's Day for a large portion of their yearly gross income where as box stores do not suffer if the flowers are not sold, most grocery store flowers are loss leaders so the buyers buy them knowing that they will make very little if any profit off of them, but it draws you in and it's convenient.
How Can You Save Money
There are a couple different things you can do to save yourself some money on the big day. The first being - order early and speak to the florist about alternatives to the rose. If you walk into a florist shop the day of Valentine's, the premium flowers may all ready be spoken for and you may be stuck with a limited choice of what's left over. If you're going to spend the money you might as well get what you want so order early.
Despite what men think, most women are happy to get any type of flowers. Although a rose is a symbol of love it really is the thought that counts and a gorgeous bunch of red and pink tulips along with a heartfelt note will make your special somoene's heart go a flutter and that will keep a few extra dollars in your back pocket. You can also save by arranging to pick up the flowers, if you've ordered early and set a time for pick up you'll save yourself the delivery fee and the delivery drivers will LOVE you.
Do not order from the 1800 flower type companies, although their initial pricing may look good they will tack on extras costs for every little thing, charge you and outrageous administration fee and then send the flowers to your loved one in a box for them to arrange themselves and they send them via a fedEx or UPS truck that has no temperature control. You can imagine how well that turns out in most cases. Make sure when you order you are dealing with a legitimate retail florist that has a brick and mortar building that works, lives and puts money back into the local neighbourhood economy.
If your heart is set on roses, know that the prices you are paying are well worth it and so is that special someone. Florists are not trying to rip you off they are just passing along the costs that are bestowed on them. You may only confess your love with flowers once a year, do it with flowers from a florist who has honed their craft and put all their money and passion into their business, and you won't be disappointed.
I think I can speak for all florists out there when I say, we thank you for any orders at Valentine's and any other time throughout the year.