Business is blooming!
Byline: KELLEY PRICE firstname.lastname@example.org @kelleyprice_gaz
ROMANCE is alive and well on Teesside, it would appear.
Marton florist Samantha Hayton and her team will be pulling a late shift this Valentine's Day, with a stream of bouquet deliveries including to restaurants and hotel rooms.
It looks like smitten Teessiders love to surprise their other halves today.
Many leave things until the last minute, with plenty of orders ringing through to her business - Fleur Maison at Marton shops - on the big day itself.
Here's how one of Fleur Maison's busiest days of the year will unfold.
07:00 It's an early start for us, getting all the deliveries ready for the drivers. We'll have four or five drivers on, each with a different route, covering most of Teesside.
You have to try to get your deliveries out as quickly as possible; nobody wants their flowers at the end of the day. We offer the delivery service to workplaces and hotel rooms. We also get some unusual messages to write on the cards.
09:00 We're busy making up orders for customers to pick up from the shop, serving as people come in, refreshing the stands for people who just want to come in, choose something fast and go.
Roses have to be conditioned throughout the day, ready to go on sale The classic dozen red roses is most popular on Valentine's Day. 11:00 Drivers are still out delivering. Organisation is key for us. If we are well prepped, things go smoothly. 13:00 Lunch-time is very busy, with workers coming out in their lunch hour. We have people ringing up on Valentine's Day itself to place orders too.
16:00 Around tea-time, things get really mad in the shop with people finishing work and calling in.
18:00 We'll work as late as we have to in the shop, but we've even had people come in on the 15th when they've forgotten, or they've been told off.
19:00 We can deliver to restaurants, we have to go into places in the evening when people are having their meals, because they want them delivered to their table.
You don't think people will go to those lengths, but they do - it's lovely. It's also surprising how many young people come and buy flowers, and the older gent with his single red rose. It's nice to see romance isn't dead.
We try to go out of our way to make it special for people.
It's nice to see a lot of people coming back because we've got a good reputation; customers stay loyal, if the quality is there they will come back.
Everything's coming up roses for Samantha Hayton george lillystone