The rush is on for Valentine’s Day as people get ready for the big day, but a leading Calgary florist isn’t sure flower shops will be able to meet the demand.
The problem is a disruption in the normal supply chain, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Flowers fly under the bellies of passenger planes and as you know, there aren’t many passenger planes coming in now internationally, so flower supply becomes a big issue,” Incredible Florist owner Daniel Lim said.
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As an example, Lim opened the door to his cooler storage area on Monday, to show a shipment of roses that had come in from South America over the weekend, arriving two days later than scheduled.
Lim said social distancing requirements are causing delays in flower-growing countries like Colombia and Ecuador.
“Less workers, less flower trimming and therefore, less supply, less harvesting,” Lim said.
“My best estimate: the supply is about 25 per cent less this year.”
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Like other local florists, Lim is taking steps to make up for that drop.
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“We’ve gone to many sources, we’ve gone to different countries, we’re sourcing flowers locally,” Lim said.
“Our lilies come from Brooks, Alta., and we’ve gone to various small farms throughout southern Alberta, to try and encourage them to grow flowers for us next spring and next summer.”
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Along with making efforts to buy local, Lim is also trying to give his customers a break.
“Our costs have gone up this year, but understanding most Calgarians are going through a tough economic time, we have made a very strong effort to keep our prices the same as last year,” Lim said.
“We want to support Calgary.”
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Despite their struggles, many customers are still ordering flowers, and not just for special occasions.
“Since COVID started, because you can’t see your relatives, you’re stuck at home, people are connecting emotionally by flowers,” Lim said.
And Lim has some advice for anyone considering ordering flowers for Valentine’s Day.
“I know most men like to wait until noon on Feb. 14 to order flowers — kick the habit this year,” Lim said.
“Order your flowers early, because I think all the flower shops will run out of flowers very early this year, so don’t be disappointed.”
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