Valentine’s Day still a winner

Michelle Slater

Florists were scrambling to change plans just two days before the most romantic day of the year when the state was forced into the sudden lockdown on Friday afternoon.

Moe florist Danielle Ferguson said her staff started preparing for Valentine’s Day since before Christmas, but had to shut shop leading into the flower trade’s peak day.

Ms Ferguson said they had ordered five-times the amount of roses for Valentine’s Day, and four-fold the amount of other stock, but feared it may have all ended up wasted.

“You don’t want to know what went through my head at the news of the lockdown, we panicked. I rang the health department to ask what we could do in terms of trading,” Ms Ferguson said.

“We were very concerned about the effect this would have on us, we thought we would have to throw it all in the bin as if you don’t sell it you lost it. Flowers are perishable items.”

Instead the business began offering over the phone orders, home deliveries and contactless pick up services.

“People were confused if we were open or not, but we had a lot of messages of support and well wishes from people worried about us,” she said.

“We ended up having a good weekend and got everyone’s orders out. It was not as good as other years, there was a downturn from previous years, but we still had a decent weekend.”

Local Members of Parliament had taken to social media urging people to support florists in lockdown.

“Love still blooms – it just looks a little different this year,” Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said.

“Support your local florist this Valentine’s Day and make sure their beautiful, colourful and fragrant stock is put to good use – click and collect, and delivery services are specifically permitted.”

Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said regional florists had stocked up thousands of dollars’ worth of roses and flowers in preparation for the big day.

“Please support your local florist, by ringing and ordering, or if they have a website click and ordering a home delivery,” Ms Bath said.

“If you can make it in the door tonight (Friday), visit and purchase from your local store. Support small businesses and help them survive.”