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Merchants rev up for Valentines Day
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Manager Jane Panigada shows some of the popular items that will by flying off the shelf over the course of this week. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
It’s a day celebrating love in all of its beautiful facets.

And for a handful of local businesses it’s the busiest day of the year as sweethearts flood in to make their last-minute purchases and track down the perfect gift for that special someone.

According to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Manager Jane Panigada, the work preparing for the Valentine’s Day rush started weeks ago when assembly on gift baskets and other holiday favorites began – kicking off a spike in business that culminates with the all-day rush that comes on Feb. 14.

Whether it’s a box of truffles or a chocolate champagne bottle, Panigada expects for the majority of the store’s inventory to be gone by the end of the week.

“I actually ordered 2,000 strawberries to make up before the end of next week,” Panigada said. “It’s easily the busiest day of the year for us by far.

“I think that what helps us stay so busy this time of year is that there’s really something for someone on any budget – we have things that start at only fifty cents. We urge people to preorder things so they know we’ll have it in stock, but right now we have gift baskets ready to go and something for everyone’s taste.”

Across town at The Rose Cart – the flower shop formerly known as Rose Mart next to Max Muscle on Louise Avenue – Mary Pina is getting ready for a crush that only rivals the crowds on the lead-up to Mother’s Day and big high school dances.

The Valentine’s Day gift standard – a dozen red roses – is currently going for $64.99 and is expected to be quite popular this year along with accessories like balloons and teddy bears that are also available.

The Rose Cart also delivers to as far away as Stockton, Lodi, Lathrop, and Ripon.

“This year is a little bit different because Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday but business leading up to it is always busy,” said Pina. “Whether it’s a single rose or several dozen, we have what people want when it comes to flowers. We just recommend that people order in advance so they know that their gift will be there.”

The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is located at 303 E. Yosemite Avenue and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They’ll be open on Valentines Day for last-minute gifting. They can be reached at 823-6500.

The Rose Cart is located at 1114 N. Main Street. For more information about gifts or preorder dates, call 9823-9300.