Queenstown more loved up than ever

BROOKE GARDINER IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 13:02 15/02/2013
Valentine's Day florists in Queenstown
BROOKE GARDINER/Fairfax NZ
Valentine’s Day deliveries in the Wakatipu are one of St John’s major annual fundraising opportunities. Pictured loading an ambulance yesterday are St John intensive care paramedic Dianne Payne, Wild Poppies florist Stephanie Yeo and ASB customer services rep Shane Wright.

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Love it or hate it, Valentines Day was a sellout in Queenstown, with desperate retailers scrambling to order in more flowers to keep loved-up locals and visitors happy.

Wild Poppies Flowers manager Tanya Butler said staff worked until 10.30pm on Wednesday to prepare for their busiest day of the year and were hard at it by 7am yesterday.

They took on two extra staff to help ease the burden but by early yesterday morning realised they could have done with four.

"Last year we had 116 orders and we have easily done at least 200 today," she said.

Red roses were popular this year, she said, and at $135 a dozen were much cheaper than at some southern florists, which charged up to $180.

Still busy putting together bouquets at 5pm, an exhausted Ms Butler said the florists had been run off their feet all day as last minute orders piled up on top of a long list of pre-ordered bouquets.

Valentines Day is one of the main annual fundraisers for Wakatipu St John, which gets $10 for each delivery made. St John staff and volunteers were aided by ASB staff in what proved to be a long day of deliveries all over the area.

St John area manager Kelvin Perriman said his team were happy to learn Queenstown was feeling more romantic than ever in 2013.

"There's a real benefit for us in people buying up large."

One man who is away in London even offered to double the delivery if St John turned the sirens on for his young son when they delivered his wife's flowers.

In The Pink design store owner Victoria Lund said she had completely sold out of red roses, which were a steal at $109 a dozen, by lunchtime and had to put in an order for same-day delivery from the flower market in Dunedin.

"It's been crazy. We have been much busier this year. I'd say it's been four times busier."

Having experienced increased sales last year, Ms Lund said she thought she had it covered this year when she tripled her order from 15 to 45 dozen red roses.

Customers shopping after midday for flowers to surprise loved ones were told they would have to come back after 3pm when the next delivery arrived.

"Everyone who wants red roses now will be getting pink."

However, a flower shortage didn't deter many romantics, who found alternative gifts for their loved ones.

"People are buying jewellery, helium balloons and funny gifts instead."

And some obviously had a lot of love to give.

"One man bought two cards and two gifts and another bought three cards and two gifts."

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With many of the orders sent anonymously, the staff expected the usual influx of calls and visits by curious recipients wanting to know who fancied them.

"We've had lots of anonymous orders and been sworn to secrecy. People come in here and want us to describe the person but of course we are very confidential."

- The Southland Times

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