Business of Love

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day offers boost to local retailers

If Christmas is a busy time for some area retailers, Valentine’s Day is a second-place finisher for many others as the romantic search for that one gift to present to the object of their affection.

Tom Allyn, owner of Allyn’s Jewelry on South Second Street said Monday morning was “pretty busy” and amusingly speculated it was because the guys were waiting until the last minute to snap up that bracelet or ring or necklace.

“It’s been mainly small gifts, sweetheart rings, heart-shaped rings, gold chains. For the men, we sell a lot of stainless steel bracelets,” Allyn said. “This (Valentine’s Day) is one of our bigger days, along with Mother’s Day and Christmas.”

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Allyn said those who purchase a gift there can also get it gift wrapped or engraved, which saves them time.

Tom Hackworth, who owns A Touch of Grace florist and gifts on South Third Street, said he and his staff began taking orders three or four weeks ago for this one day of the year, although procrastinators made a steady stream into his store Monday and he expects the same today.

Hackworth said he has no explanation why, but this year’s Valentine’s Day seems to be busier than the ones in years previous.

Roses, long stemmed and gift-wrapped are the obvious favorite but Hackworth said mixed arrangements are also popular. Right now, another big seller is a singing balloon.

“It’s a 32-inch heart-shaped mylar balloon and you tap it and it sings,” Hackworth explained. “We have a couple left.”

For those who want a more public and (maybe) more permanent expression of their love, there’s always a trip to The Wedding Chapel in Catlettsburg, Ky.

Owner and minister, the Rev. Marty Gute, said he has 13 appointments today and there are always a few walk-ins, which will likely put his nuptial count at close to 20 for the day. His record was 55 weddings in 1998, just before Ohio and West Virginia eliminated their waiting periods between getting that license and getting hitched.

Half of Gute’s couples with appointments today are Ohioans; half are from West Virginia and only one is a Kentucky couple.