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Florists detail days leading up to Valentines Day

VALLEY — Valentine’s Day is traditionally the busiest day of the year for florists. It’s the one day of the year many thousands of fresh red roses are delivered to loved ones.

Three local florists are having anniversary seasons this Valentine’s Day. The House of Flowers, located off Highway 29 in the Langdale community, is having its 50th Valentine’s Day this year. Current owner Steve Sorrell has had the business for 37 years. His dad, Theron Sorrell, ran the business in its first year in 1969-70. Located on Trammel Block in the Fairfax community, Floral Expressions is having its 30th Valentine’s Day and Pat’s Creations, located in the historic Masonic Hall building in Langdale, is having its 25th Valentine’s Day in 2020.

In most years, the House of Flowers will make between 150 and 200 deliveries on Valentine’s Day.

Steve Sorrell and wife, Teena, have been busy for the past few days.

“Since Saturday, I have been here between 6:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. every day,” said Steve Sorrell. “We will have three delivery vans going from 8:30 to 4:30 on Friday. You’ve heard of being a jack of all trades? My wife Teena is the Jill of all trades. She organizes all the deliveries and everything that takes place in the back.”

“We will be making at least 20 trips on Friday,” Teena said. “Our vans are equipped to protect the flowers as they are being transported.”

The delivery area runs from Kia on one side to LaFayette on the other, Fredonia on the north and Beulah to the south.

Most of the Valentine’s Day roses sold in the Southeastern U.S. are imported from South America.

‘The largest flower farms in the world are in Colombia and Ecuador,” Steve said. “It’s the summer season there, and the farms are in cool, mountainous regions where the temperatures are the 50s and 60s.”

Steve said that the roses grown in South America are flown to Miami and then dispersed to florists throughout the Southeast.

“That’s why they are so expensive,” Steve said. “They have to be flown into the country and go through customs, and then there’s a tariff on them.”

The House of Flowers will be selling around 1,500 individual roses on Valentine’s Day.  Of course, most of them will be in multiple groupings in a bouquet.

“Feb. 15 is always a relief to us,” Teena said.

“It’s a relief to me starting at 5 p.m. on the 14th,” Steve said.

Floral Expressions owner LuAnne Sims said that Valentine’s Day is all about “roses, roses and then more roses.”

“Business has been good this year, but the real story will be on Valentine’s Day,” Sims said. “I have had a lot of people buying floral arrangements from me every year I have been in business. I really appreciate their business, and it’s good to see them coming back each year. Their loyalty means a lot to me. It makes me feel good they have confidence in me, that I can make them something special for a special day.”

It’s a tradition for the Sims family to take off work to help LuAnne on Valentine’s Day. “It’s a family day here on Feb. 14,” Sims said. “My husband, Daryl, my daughter, Joy, and granddaughter, Carly, will be helping my regular delivery lady, Wanda Phipps. It’s helpful that Carly will be out of school tomorrow. She’ll be 10 years old next week, and she’s a big help to me. She can carry things and is good at making sure the cards are right. I’m always happy to have my family here all chipping in to help me.”

Floral Expressions has a mascot, a huge calico cat named Daisy.

“When someone enters the shop, Daisy goes up to meet them,” Sims said. “Some people come by just to see her. Daisy sometimes gets up in the front window, and people like to tap on it to say hello to her. Daisy is part of the small town feel I like to have in my shop.”

Pat Shaddix has been running Pat’s Creations out of one of Langdale’s most historic buildings for 25 years now. Years ago, the West Point Manufacturing Company built a general store and lodge hall for each of its five mill village communities. Stores would be on the ground floor and the lodge hall on the second floor. Magnolia Lodge No. 516 continues to meet on the upper floor today.

Through the years, the ground floor has been home to doctor’s offices, lawyer offices, a funeral home, a beauty shop along with offices for the Chambers County Sheriff and the Alabama State Troopers.

“There have been lots of businesses in this building over the years,” Shaddix said.

As is the case with the Sorrells and the Sims, Pat’s Creations is a family business, especially going into Valentine’s Day. Pat’s husband, William Shaddix, makes deliveries. Pat, her daughter, Stacey, and granddaughter, Andreana, make the floral arrangements. “It’s always best to order in advance for Valentine’s Day, but we always have quite a few walk-ins. I like to have something made up for them.”

When asked what people ask for heading into Valentine’s Day, Stacey said that “it’s all about the roses.”

Pat said that it makes her feel good to see the smile on people’s faces when they receive a floral arrangement.

“There have been times I would close the shop and ride with my husband when he made a delivery,” she said. “I did that just to see the happy look on their face when they got flowers.”