Stores prepare for last-minute rush before Valentine's Day

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- With Valentine's Day coming up, it is one of the busiest times of the year for some local businesses.

A recent survey from the National Retail Federation shows Americans are expected to spend on average more than $143 this Valentine's Day. For some local businesses, that means a lot of foot traffic in a short amount of time.

At Betty Jane Candies in Dubuque, they see no shortage of customers coming to pick up those last-minute heart-shaped boxes.

Betty Jane Candies President Drew Siegert said they have seen the business grow every year, especially online, but their "bread-and-butter" is in-person retail sales.

Despite their best advice not to wait too long, the final days before Valentine's Day are always busier.

"Valentine's Day's a wild one," Siegert said. "It's our third most popular holiday. Christmas and Easter are a little bit bigger, but Valentine's Day is tough because Christmas and Easter we have those sales spread out over a month or three week period. Valentine's Day, guys do the shopping, it's two or three just crazy days."

Siegert says despite their best efforts to give a heads up to consumers, he ensures they do make chocolate before February 14.

For one flower shop in Dubuque, they expect big business around two holidays: Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. This week they are expecting most of their business to come in these next two days.

This is only the second Valentine's Day for owner Bryan Fitting at Butt's Florist.

Preparations are already in full bloom for the expected demand.

Fitting says they do everything they can to cut, arrange, and deliver flowers. Between those who plan ahead, and those who do not, they expect hundreds of customers.

"We get out as many as we can," Fitting said. "The guys that are planning ahead that we've got orders for, some are being delivered today, some go out tomorrow. So we do a lot of orders prior to that. It might be a little bit one way or the other, but usually expecting about 300 deliveries and then another 50 to 75 people walking in."

Fitting said around holidays like Valentine's Day, flowers will never go out of business because there is always a demand for the wives, moms, and girlfriends.

While he admits it is only natural for some to wait until the last minute, Fitting said the most important thing, you have to take care of the loved ones.