Picking out sweets for your sweetie on Valentine's Day

It appears your odds of getting chocolate for Valentine’s Day next week are pretty good. According to Google, searches for Valentine’s Day chocolate are up more than 1,400 percent.

For local chocolate shops, ramping up for Valentine's Day sales starts right after Christmas.

"It is really busy, and we sell a lot of chocolate," said Linda Skwarcan, the manger of Veni's Sweet Shop in Niles, Mich.

In some ways, the preparation is like the chocolate equivalent of training for a marathon.

"We're here a lot in January, making all the fresh product," said Skwarcan.

As the big day approaches, the days get longer--about 15 hours a week longer for the shop that has been a local tradition in the Niles area since 1910.

This is because shop employees can only so many things beforehand. For example, strawberries are only fresh for a short time, and Veni's buys between 70 and 100 pounds for the holiday.

"We will come in early all Valentine's Day week to deal with the strawberry orders, because they really should be made, given and eaten the same day," said Skwarcan.

Skwarcan said they do more sales on February 14 than they do for Christmas.

"All day long, we'll have people standing in the lobby," said Skwarcan.

Custom orders for Cupid's holiday also outnumber those at Christmas.

"Unlike Christmas, where a lot of assortments get sold, Valentine's Day--you know your sweetheart only loves her favorite chocolates--so we are handpacking a lot of boxes," said Skwarcan.

It takes about 10 minutes longer a box to pack those special orders, but shop employees at Veni's say it's worth it for all the moments that warm their hearts.

"The sweetest thing I've seen is probably a kid about 10 years old who came in and picked out two hearts for his parents, a small heart that he was going to trick them with until he pulled out his two-pound heart to give them for Valentine's Day," said Skwarcan.


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