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Sales bud as Cape sweethearts buy flowers and gifts for Valentine’s Day

By Staff | Feb 14, 2009

A legend says Saint Valentine wrote a letter to his love, a woman who visited him in prison before he was put to death around 270 A.D., and signed it “From your Valentine,” according to History.com.
Another legend claims Roman Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage of young men to use them as soldiers, but Valentine defied the law in the name of love, marrying young couples in secret, the Web site states.
Whatever the truth, his name comes to the tip of lovers’ tongues every February 14 as they celebrate their affection on the day of all things cute and cuddly.
And when Cape Coral couples both young and old speak the words, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” “I love you,” or any variation thereof, local businesses are there to respond.
Employees of June’s Hallmark, 1339 Cape Coral Parkway E., are so prepared they keep a secret stash of Valentine’s Day cards for last-minute shoppers.
“We always keep an amount of cards in the drawer for the husbands because they always come in the last minute, and we never want to run out,” said store owner Jane Hartz.
The store stocks a plethora of Valentine’s Day goodies, including anything from the usual flowers and candies type of gifts to magnetic hanging monkeys, chocolate-covered strawberries, light-up pins and bumblebees that sing “I love you.”
Hartz said Valentine’s Day is huge for June’s Hallmark.
“It’s the second (busiest holiday) from Christmas; then there’s Mother’s Day,” she said. “Everything is selling in general. We’re finding that people are not traditionally going to flowers as much as going to something that’s a keepsake.”
Traditional-hearted Cape residents, though, have a number of florists to choose from for Valentine’s Day and other floral needs, including locally owned and operated Cape Coral Floral Designs.
The everything-flowers shop has been located at 2109 Del Prado Boulevard since 2005 and has been awarded Best of Cape Coral for four years.
They offer a number of special arrangements for Valentine’s Day, ranging from about $40 to about $150, and also offer special deliveries in the Cape by singers in tuxedos.
Owner Andy Jermy calls Valentine’s Day a “10 out of 10” for sales.
“It doesn’t come any busier,” he said Friday. “We’ve had people in from 8 o’clock this morning and we’ll have them here until 8 o’clock tonight.”
On top of the demand of flowers today for the holiday, Feb. 14 is a popular day for them for another reason, Jermy said.
“It’s a very popular day to get married as well,” he said. “We have five weddings (today).”
Jermy said that despite a suffering economy, his business takes care of its customers and visa versa.
“Most people are learning that the better florists are the better florists,” he said.
The most popular sell seems to be the traditional arraignment of a dozen roses, he said.
Another Cape business owner who will tell you about Feb. 14 wedding dates–from personal experience–is Chef Dario Zuljani, an Italian cuisine chef celebrating 39 years with his wife Alice today.
Zuljani owns Ariani Restaurant & Lounge, a local Italian eatery located at 1529 S.E. 15th Terrace. He and a fellow chef, celebrating 11 years married today, will celebrate to a packed house of about 300 patrons, he said.
“Monday we took the last reservations we could squeeze in,” Zuljani said. “We do have a very large base of loyal customers who we call them guests. Most of them are our very close friends.”
The restaurant offers a special Valentine’s Day menu and wine list, along with its usual menu items, he said.
“I think Italian cuisine is especially proper for the celebration of holidays,” Zuljani said. “Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. With Italian food I think it’s endless combinations for great feasts regardless of what you’re celebrating. I’m glad to hold this image of the restaurant that we celebrate life, anniversaries and our blessings.”
Ariani is open Monday thru Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.
No matter what theory about St. Valentine residents believe, or what Valentine’s Day means to them, Cape businesses appear to be ready to share in the celebrations.
According to Community Redevelopment Agency spokesperson Helen Ramey, a number of downtown eateries and flower shops are running holiday specials for the Cape’s sweethearts.