BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) - Valentine's Day has arrived, and that means big opportunities for local florists. But it takes a lot of work to capitalize.
Dorothy McDaniel's Flower Market opened around 8 a.m., but employees began arriving around 6:15. That's after a busy day that kept many in the shop until almost midnight on Tuesday.
"It's the consolidation of probably two or three weeks of average business into two days," Dorothy McDaniel, the shop's owner, said. "So you have to be imminently well prepared."
The shop has been around for 40 years, so McDaniel and her staff have plenty of experience dealing with the Valentine's Day rush, but that doesn't necessarily make it easier - there's not such thing as "perfection" in this business, she said. And this time of year requires extra help. Her normal staff includes about 20 people. She hires about 15 additional part-time employees around the holiday to assist with the influx of orders.
The shop was a hub of activity Tuesday, with some employees making arrangements, others taking orders and several packing trucks. On Wednesday, drivers will deliver flowers all over Birmingham, and McDaniel even hires "riders" to work in tandem with the drivers. They ride along and get out of the car to drop off orders downtown so drivers don't have to worry about finding parking spaces. It's all about running an efficient operation so her customers can get their orders on time.
"We just want it to be a good experience for our customers," McDaniel said. "So it's significant for us, but our biggest concern is getting quality product there and getting it there promptly."
But it takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to make that happen.
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