7 Reasons To Use A Local Florist On Valentine's Day

Written by Rob Cederstrom, floral designer at Gifts from the Heart Florist in North Babylon, New York, and florist on BloomNation.

It's safe to say that if you want to stay out of the doghouse on Valentine's Day, you should buy your Valentine flowers. During this romantic holiday, there are lots of places selling flowers, from the grocery store to the national franchise florists featuring promotions and deals, some of which are so compelling that the average person would have a hard time turning away.

However, the old adage "you get what you pay for" couldn't be truer in the flower industry, and this season you should know the truth — that not all blooms are created equal!

Flowers Come From Many Different Places and in Many Different Grades

Did you ever wonder how the gas station can afford to sell a dozen roses for $20?

The U.S. Flower market comprises at least 60 percent imported flowers, primarily from South America. Growers will generally grow 15 to 20 species for export. When they sort and package them, they separate the flowers into grades and those flowers are sold at different prices to different wholesalers and retailers. The grades are divided into length and quality.

The wholesale price of a high grade, long-stem rose is about five times as expensive as a rose from a gas station or an online chain. The big guys get their flowers in huge bulk, which has its tradeoffs. The simple fact is that flowers from large retailers don't match up in quality or "wow" factor to what your local florist buys.

Not All Fresh Flowers Are All That Fresh

Another cost-cutting measure employed by large franchises, supermarkets, and big box delivery services is to buy flowers that are past their primary market life. Those are the flowers that florists pass over and may have been sitting in a large refrigerator for weeks. When buying a quality rose, you can typically keep them for one to one and a half weeks from the point of retail purchase before they will wither. In the case of these late market and inferior flowers, you might be lucky to get five days out of them, though many are gone in less time than that.

Guaranteed Delivery? Not From the Big Guys!

Did you know that if you order from certain retailers during the two weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, they will not guarantee delivery without charging you more? This means that your roses will either cost more to send or they might not deliver them when you want them — or worse, they might not deliver them at all! Don't believe me? There are TONS of horror stories out there for you to find. In some cases, the delivered result is worse than a failed delivery.

When You Order From a National Wire Service, You Pay Commission

Wire services charge more than you typically spend at a flower shop and won't necessarily deliver the best results. These services gather orders online and then send them to a local flower shop in your delivery area, but not before taking a commission fee off the top of the order. The local florist ends up with a percentage of the order's value and fills your order for less money than the sender intended.

Going Direct to a Shop Takes Out the Guess Work

Florists can show you the quality of their work. They can give you a guarantee on their flowers, and make good in a hurry if a mistake was made. They can provide more precise delivery windows, and unlike larger retailers, will call ahead (unless you're trying to surprise the recipient) before attempting a delivery. These shops live and die by their reputations, so it is in their best interest to do it right the first time, or to fix it fast if you aren't 100 percent satisfied. National retailers or wire companies may take up to a week to fix an order, but you'll probably settle for a partial refund long before that.

The Thought Really Is What Counts

Prompt, beautiful, long-lasting flowers take effort to care for, arrange, and deliver. The personalized touches and attentive service a florist can provide will be worth the extra money. If the price tag of such an item takes precedent over the result, then you will surely get what you paid for, and you wouldn't be the first guy to take his lumps over it.                                                                      

Knowing a Florist You Can Trust Is a Benefit You Can Enjoy Year Round

For birthdays, Mother's Day, anniversaries, sympathy, and everyday cheer, you'll be happy to have a relationship with your local flower shop. It is like having your own private gift consultant that will help you say just the right thing whenever you send flowers. You'll get a fair deal, but, most importantly, you will send something stunning.