Local businesses loving Valentine's Day

A reminder to all the lovers out there, Valentine's Day is Tuesday Feb. 14. With the clock ticking, local businesses are doing all they can to ensure you don't forget or just plain cheap-out when it comes to gift-giving.

After all, the day's a huge money maker for the floral, chocolate and restaurant industries, just to name a few.

This year, Valentine’s Day spending is up 8.5 percent, meaning the average American is now shelling-out $126 to impress his or her significant other. That's the highest figure the National Retail Federation has seen since it began tracking holiday spending in 2002.

For most folks, flowers help cut out life's stress. A sensation, florist Stephanie Pickens of Sweet Pickens Floral & Gifts hasn't smelled since the calendar hit Feb. 1.

"I mean there's like 12 of us here today and you know what, we're bumping into each other, but we have a smile and we're having a good time doing it,” Pickens said with a laugh.

After all Valentine’s Day is Picken's busiest, with customers ordering 4,000 roses alone.

"Red is for love, yellow is for friendship, pink is for perfect happiness. It’s just a lot of fun,” Picken added.

Across town, Cupid is serving-up an entree of big business at South Bend's newest restaurant, Cafe Navarre.

"Pretty much since the calendar turned-over, on the first of February, the phone started ringing for Valentine’s Day reservations,” Café Navarre owner Kurt Janowski said.

As of Monday, the earliest reservation the eatery has available for Valentine’s Day was 9 p.m.

Of course romantics love chocolate too. For proof, just visit the South Bend Chocolate Café where employees made more than 300 lbs. in chocolate covered strawberries for Tuesday’s big rush.

"We see everyone from our regulars to people that will drive miles and miles to come here to get just that special gift for that special someone,” store manager Sue Martinic said.

If you're scrambling to come-up with some clever plans for Valentine’s Day, NewsCenter 16 has a helpful list of fun and inexpensive date ideas. If you'd like to review them for yourself, just click on the link below.

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