133-year-old florist bulks up for Valentine's Day, fighting low temps

Tim Jimenez
February 14, 2020 - 9:42 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It's Valentine's Day. Love is in the air, and flowers are going out the door at shops across the region. A 133-year-old flower shop in the city's Mayfair neighborhood is having its busiest day of the year.

Stein Your Florist Co. on Frankford Avenue started preparing for Valentine's Day right after Christmas. Owner Patrick Kelly says he put in 100 hours of work in the last week, and he slept in his office Thursday night so he could be up and ready to go with a team Friday morning that's bigger than usual.

"We go from an average crew of about 15 to 30 people to assembling all 30 to 40 people all in one day."

That includes 14 Valentine's Day delivery drivers compared to three on a normal day. 

And Kelly says it's not just roses. 

"Exotics seem to be trending more and more. Not just during Valentine's Day, but over the past few years. People, they love that exotic look — the bird of paradise, the ginger, the anthurium," he said. 

"We actually upped our ante on the exotics this year: orchids and things imported from different parts of the world."

A big challenge for delivery drivers is the low temperatures.

"The flowers will tolerate 34 degrees and up," he said — meaning that, with the wind chill factor across the city on Friday, flowers can freeze easily. 

"If a cold breeze blows over the top of the flowers, and it’s 28 degrees, it's gonna singe the flowers," Kelly said.

So, drivers try not to leave arrangements outside people's doors. They’ll return if no one is home, which Kelly says can back them up, keeping some drivers out on the job late into the night.