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February 13, 2016

Delawareonline.com

3:47 p.m. EST February 13, 2016

 

 

Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day.

And so is the sound of cash registers.

Business owners say a fluke of the calendar has helped to boost sales of cards, gifts and flowers this year, while extending the holiday bonanza for hotels and restaurants.

“Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year so that means people are celebrating all weekend,” said Scott Kammerer, president of the coastal hospitality group SoDel Concepts. “And then Presidents Day is on Monday, so people who have the day off are a little more willing to go out and have fun.”

Kammerer’s company operates eight restaurants in Sussex County, including Fish On in Lewes, Lupo Italian Kitchen in Rehoboth Beach and Catch 54 in Fenwick Island.

But last-minute romantics might have a hard time making a dinner reservation at any of them on Sunday.

“If it's women making the reservation, they usually call well in advance and the prime hours are already taken,” he said. “Men tend to call at the last minute, and if there are any tables left, it’s going to be earlier or later in the evening.”

A Sunday Valentine’s Day means those dawdling Romeos have a few more options.

“If we’re sold out on the holiday, they were able make dinner plans on Saturday night instead,” said Stephen Cobb, the food and beverage director at Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth Beach.

Victoria’s Restaurant in the hotel also is offering a Valentine’s Day brunch.

“We’ll get 30 to 40 calls for Valentine’s Day reservations today alone,” Cobb said Saturday. “Being able to offer them the night before or morning of instead is something you can’t offer when the holiday falls during the week.”

The longer love fest also allows hotels to create overnight packages that fill rooms along with restaurant seats, said Brad Wenger, general manager of the Hilton Christiana.

“For that reason, our room bookings have been very strong this year,” he said. “If you get creative with those ideas, you can really reap a great benefit this year.”

The extra days also have been a boon for florists, who normally have to spend the holiday racing to meet tight delivery windows.

“Everybody wants their bouquets to show up at the office,” said Elena Jackson, owner of Elana’s Broad Street Florist in Middletown. “We did a lot of that on Friday, but having Valentine’s Day on Sunday means those deliveries get spread over the weekend instead of all being on the same day.”

Jackson said she won’t know until next week how this year’s sales compared to last year.

“But I can tell you I had to order more roses to be sure we have enough for those last-minute shoppers,” she said. “We’ll be getting calls up until 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.”

 

 Smyrna Cards and Gifts owners Woody and Karen Gill pose for a photo with some Valentine's Day themed gifts and cards on Saturday morning. 

(Photo: DOUG CURRAN/SPECIAL TO THE NEWS)

 

 

Woody and Karen Gill, who opened Smyrna Cards and Gifts on Smyrna’s South Main Street in late 2014, said their business was booming in the lead up to the shop's second Valentine’s Day.

 

“Our card sales are up 40 percent over last year,” Woody said Saturday. “Today, it’s mostly been men coming in, all after Valentine's Day cards or gifts.”

 

Gill attributed the jump in sales, at least in part, to the weekend holiday.

“It means people have more time to shop,” he said. “If Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday, the guys might pick something up last minute while they’re at work, but now they have an opportunity to make a trip before it happens and really think a gift through.”

 

Smyrna Cards and Gifts will be closed Sunday, but the shop owner said he'll still head into work to get the store readyfor the next major holiday.

 

“I’ve got to get those Easter cards out,” he said.

 

Restaurant workers, hotel staff and business owners also will be postponing their Valentine’s Day celebrations until their cupid duties are complete.

“You’re too busy helping people with their proposals, anniversaries and first dates to celebrate yourself,” Cobb said. “You come home tired, but it's a good feeling to know you helped other people have a day to remember.”

Restaurant workers, hotel staff and business owners also will be postponing their Valentine’s Day celebrations until their cupid duties are complete.

“You’re too busy helping people with their proposals, anniversaries and first dates to celebrate yourself,” Cobb said. “You come home tired, but it's a good feeling to know you helped other people have a day to remember.”

Restaurant workers, hotel staff and business owners also will be postponing their Valentine’s Day celebrations until their cupid duties are complete.

“You’re too busy helping people with their proposals, anniversaries and first dates to celebrate yourself,” Cobb said. “You come home tired, but it's a good feeling to know you helped other people have a day to remember.”

Contact business reporter Scott Goss at (302) 324-2281, sgoss@delawareonline.com or on Twitter @ScottGossDel.

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