Business is booming this week at floral shops across the state as tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Tom Boesen owns what is likely Iowa’s biggest seller of flowers — Boesen the Florist in Des Moines.
“There’s absolutely no question about it, (Valentine’s Day) is the single largest fresh flower day of the year,” Boesen says. His grandparents started the family business 90 years ago. Today, Boesen oversees a main store and greenhouse and five other branch locations around the capital city.
He says this week is unusual for his business for a number of reasons. For example, during a normal day, Boesens employs seven delivery drivers.
“We’ll have in excess of 50 drivers alone on Valentine’s Day,” Boesen says. “We have two phone operators on a normal day and we have 12 operators working all of this week.” Boesens orders products from seven countries, plus states like California and Colorado.
Easily, the top seller this week is roses. “Valentine’s Day is also the kickoff of spring flowers. We’re starting to see tulips and iris and all the other things coming in,” Boesen says.
“So, there are a lot of things you can do other than roses. But, there’s absolutely no question – the red rose means ‘I love you.'” This week, a dozen red roses costs roughly $70.
There might be cheaper options online, but Boesen encourages Iowans to call or visit a local floral shop instead. “They can tell you what they have,” Boesen says of local shops.
“Those 800 numbers are what we call ‘order collectors.’ They have beautiful websites and they’re great marketers because that’s all they do. They don’t have the brick and mortar expense. On the same token, they’re making a promise – these companies, maybe in New York, for a guy in Iowa – and they really don’t know what we have. So, for Valentine’s or any holidays when it comes to flowers, keep it local.”