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Snowstorm forces extended Valentine's Day for some

February 15, 2007|by TARA REILLY

TRI-STATE - Don't blame your mate for being forgetful just yet.

Your Valentine's Day flowers might be on the way today.

Florists throughout the Tri-State area said Wednesday the snow and ice storm that began Tuesday snarled plans for hundreds or more deliveries to homes and businesses on Valentine's Day.

"It's really botching things up," said Patti Plasterer of Plasterer's Florist and Greenhouses in Chambersburg, Pa. "We're really backed up."

Some flower shops were short-staffed because employees couldn't make it to work, and nearly all that were interviewed for this story said their drivers were running into dangerous road conditions as they attempted to drop off orders.

Some customers requested that flowers be delivered to different addresses than planned, while others were driving to the shops to pick them up. Other customers asked for flowers to be delivered a day late.

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Many businesses were either closed Wednesday or starting work later in the day, which added to already hectic delivery schedules, flower shop owners said.

"Of course, it's slowed things down tremendously for us," Ginger Grimes, owner of the two Ginger's Flower Shops in Martinsburg, W.Va., said.

The shop had about 165 deliveries scheduled Wednesday. Because of the weather, some will be a day late, Grimes said.

"Valentine's Day is usually our single busiest day of the year," Grimes said. "So, yes, it's the worst time it could be (for the storm), but we're making the best of it. We're making every effort to get them out."

Plasterer's planned to deliver to as many businesses and in-town locations as it could Wednesday. The remaining deliveries would be made today, Plasterer said.

"It's pretty wicked here," she said.

Plasterer's had "hundreds and hundreds" of Valentine's Day orders to take care of, she said.

Most of the customers she dealt with understood that the deliveries might be late. A few became upset. One man was angry over a possible delay and said that he wanted the order canceled if it wasn't delivered Wednesday.

"Most people are very understanding," Plasterer said. "But there are always those who don't understand, no matter what the circumstances are."

Vickie Stang, an owner of Jane's Flower Pot on Oak Ridge Drive in Hagerstown, said the shop's delivery people weren't able to drive on many side streets. The shop also anticipated having to make some Valentine's Day deliveries today mainly because of so many closed businesses.

"We've had well over 100 deliveries when we started the day, so we have to go out no matter what," said Jennifer Hagelberg, owner of Jennifer's Floral Creations on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown.

The treacherous side streets and closed businesses caused delays for Jennifer's, but the shop was making progress. It had delivered about 50 arrangements by about noon, Hagelberg said.

"It hasn't made the holiday pointless," she said of the weather. "I don't think it is as horrible as ... everyone thought it was going to be to get through."

Four Seasons Florist and Gifts near Smithsburg began delivering flowers on Tuesday in preparation for the storm. The shop hoped to finish the deliveries Wednesday.

"We've are working all day today, so we'll make it," owner Donna Peacher said.

Peacher said a lot of the side roads in the Smithsburg area had not been cleaned, so the shop's delivery people were taking their time with orders for safety reasons.

"It might be a little bit longer getting there, but we're going to get them there," she said.

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