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Flower shop preps for holiday

Katie McCarty | Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but the student managers at Irish Gardens have been preparing for the flower-heavy holiday for more than two months.

Planning for the busiest business week of the year for the completely student-run, independent floral shop began in December, general manager Krystal Hentges said. On an average business day, Irish Gardens places approximately $100 in flower orders, but Hentges said that figure jumps to nearly $1,000 per day during the Valentine’s Day boom.

“First, we evaluate sales from the previous year and come up with a fun slogan,” Hentges said. “I placed our flower product order in January.”

Hentges said this year’s slogan is “You can’t escape puppy love,” and the annual flower shipment, which includes some new floral arrangement offerings, arrived Monday at its location in the basement of the LaFortune Student Center.

“This year, I wanted to mix up the bouquets we have offered in previous years and one I’m really excited about has lilies and hydrangeas,” Hentges said.
But the delivery of 38 boxes of flowers only marks the beginning of the hectic days leading up to Feb. 14, she said.

“Amidst boys coming in to place last-minute orders, we spend the next two days processing the flowers,” Hentges said. “We get them out of the … boxes they come in, clip them, get them in water and organize them.”

Hentges said Valentine’s Day festivities really begin today when the Irish Gardens staff spends hours making all the preordered flower arrangements for distribution Thursday.

“Last year, we worked from 10 [a.m.] until 9 [p.m.] making all the arrangements,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but it is so much fun.”

On the day of the holiday, Hentges said the store is busy with deliveries, pickups and last-minute orders. Despite the chaos, Hentges said the staff’s hard work results in beautiful final products.

“It is amazing to see some of the work that comes out of the shop. It is so gorgeous,” she said. “It does not even feel like I am working when I am the shop, because it is such a fun and creative outlet.”

Hentges said Irish Gardens staff members enjoy working during the busy holiday season, even if it means longer hours in the shop.

“It’s the one time of the year that everyone is in the shop, and it is a big bonding experience,” she said. “It is a huge learning experience for the staff. It’s awesome to see everyone improve so drastically and becomes more confident in their ability.”

Senior employee Katie Melloh said her first Valentine’s season in the shop has been busier than expected.

“I was abroad last spring. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I haven’t had a free moment the past two days while at work,” she said. “It’s been really crazy, but a lot of fun.”

More than the personal satisfaction the staff draws from working during Valentine’s Day, Hentges said helping students celebrate the holiday with flowers makes all the work worth it.

“I can never decide which part of working at Irish Gardens is my favorite, helping the customers or making the arrangements. It’s so fun to help guys find that perfect arrangement. … It’s a process because most guys come in completely clueless,” Hentges said. “Once they come to a decision, it really is exciting when they feel confident in their choice and hopefully aren’t scared of coming in anymore.”

Irish Gardens will be open today until 7 p.m. and will open for business Thursday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. while supplies last. For more information on pricing and Valentine’s Day specials, visit flowershop.nd.edu.

Contact Katie McCarty at kmccar16@nd.edu