Irish Gardens gears up for Valentine’s Day season
Lucas Masin-Moyer | Monday, February 12, 2018
As Valentine’s Day approaches, Irish Gardens — Notre Dame’s student-run flower and balloon shop — is gearing up for the holiday season.
The shop, which is located in the basement of the LaFortune Student Center and opened in the early 1980s, has students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s on staff and in management positions. They expect to see as many as 300 to 400 students place orders during the week.
The shop, though, is in business throughout the year, helping students, faculty and staff make their special occasions the best they can be, junior supply manager Katie Lutz said.
“What’s really nice is that we get to be a part of the best and worst moments of people’s lives here — like when people are celebrating birthdays it’s really exciting to celebrate with them … we’ve blown up so many of those big, huge balloons,” she said. “ … We’ve also had a lot of orders for when a roommate is sick or they’ve lost a loved one, so in [those] moments … it’s nice that we get to bring comfort.”
The shop gets most of their supply from a partner in South Bend, and once the shipments arrive, employees are charged with preparing them for sale, sophomore employee Sammy Loper said.
“Monday mornings we have to process the flowers that come in,” she said. “We have to take the thorns off roses and the leaves off some flowers.”
Loper said one of the perks of working for Irish Gardens is that it allows her to be creative in designing people’s gifts.
“People will come in — mostly guys — and be like, do you sell flowers?” she said. “And they’re like, ‘I don’t know what I want,’ so you can take their budget and create something that’s really nice.”
Lutz, who began working for Irish Gardens during her freshman year after being recruited while studying in the LaFortune basement, said these usually-romantic orders create opportunities for some funny stories.
“Usually people call us a week or two in advance if they want something delivered to someone’s room — usually it’s flowers or something nice, something romantic,” she said. “But we’ve had instances in which the same person has called back to change the name on the order and sent to another room. … It’s kind of dramatic … but we don’t judge.”
Graduate student employee Julie Le, who said she has been trying to work at Irish Gardens since her sophomore year at the University, said her job is one of the most rewarding she’s ever had.
“You get to make people happy,” she said. “Everyone likes getting flowers or balloons.”