Hailey Mannynvali, Hearthstone Artisan Bakery co-owner, shows off some of the goodies she and her staff have baked up for Valentine’s Day. Retailers have stocked shelves and clothing racks with gifts ranging from sweet to saucy symbols of romance. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island retailers share the love around Valentine’s Day

Feb. 14 a busy time for sellers of sweets, flowers and adult novelties

Vancovuer Island’s retailers of romance are setting the mood for Valentine’s Day shoppers.

Shelves are stocked with sweet and spice in time for Feb. 14, a busy time of year for local retailers of dessert, flowers and adult novelties.

This year U.S. consumers are expected to spend $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year, with the most spent on jewelry, followed by an evening out, flowers, candy and clothing, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

It’s a day Jim Turley, owner of Nanaimo’s Turley’s Florist, says the store has to be ready for and it’s the third busiest time of the year next to Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Most people who buy flowers are getting a gift for spouses and significant others, but siblings and mothers are also getting bouquets and while roses remain an occasion favourite, the florist shop also finds other flowers are gaining in popularity.

“We’ve heard from different surveys that have been done that fellows like to send red roses but not all ladies prefer the red roses, it’s not their No. 1 favourite flower and so we often try to suggest they do a mixed boutique to include one or two red roses if they so wish. That way the odds of getting something she likes is better,” he said.

Heart-shaped danishes, cupcakes, chocolate strawberries and cookies with puns like “my butter half” and “I love you berry much” are ready to satisfy sweet tooths at the Hearthstone Artisan Bakery.

Co-owner Hailey Mannynvali says the bakery comes up with ideas, has fun and gets to see customers’ reaction, and the pun cookies have gone over really well.

“Valentine’s for a bakery, for us, is quite a push,” she said.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores in Nanaimo are also dressed up for Feb. 14, offering everything from long-stemmed chocolate-dipped strawberries to heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and face and body paint.

“It’s one of our busiest times of the year, of course,” said Annette Chantree, franchise owner, who finds purchases are not always in the name of romance. The store aims to make the day a family and friend event and is seeing people buy for their children, siblings and friends.

What the shop has learned is people like their traditions.

“Last year we introduced a rose-gold diamond-shaped box, we completely ignored the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolate…and it took a lot of people aback. They were looking for the heart box. So we learned and we have both: don’t mess with tradition,” said Chantree with a chuckle.

Whispers Adult Superstore also finds Valentine’s is one of its busiest times of the year, but its clientele are less traditional.

“We have a really kinky community in Nanaimo, let’s say, so usually it’s real high-ticket items that go this time, stuff that’s $150 or more,” said store manager Julie Browett, who expects some customers to spend $500-600 for gifts for Valentine’s.

The Fifty Shades of Grey books and movies have made people curious, and Browett said her store has products from Island company Bound2Please, which made props for the movie like the cuffs and whips and the store sells a lot. There are also mini kits, with items like massage oil, that come in Valentine’s-themed boxes that people can take to a hotel room.

People are spending, but it’s not $5,000 on a romantic getaway, Browett said – they are creating their getaway at home.

“Either that or they’re doing little getaways like going to Tofino … so they are going to grab some new lingerie and maybe some new toys and maybe some massage oils and stuff to take on a mini trip.”



news@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Mt. Washington to open ZipTour

Multi-stage zipline is largest summer investment in resort’s history

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

ELECTION 2018: Vancouver Islander politician ending unprecedented 40-year run

Mike Kokura served on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board since 1972

Surge in requests for help, reports of sexual assault since #MeToo

Growing demand for Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic’s services in first year of #MeToo

Growing numbers of Vancouver Islanders get flu shots

In 2017 alone, more than 240,000 people got vaccinated

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

West Shore RCMP put best foot forward

Interaction with community a key focus of foot patrols

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Surge of theft from vehicle in Sidney, North Saanich

Three in five cars stolen on Saanich Peninsula had keys or fobs in or nearby

Most Read