This year, on Valentine’s Day, Providence Florist (118 E. Charles St.) owner Sara Kathrotia will sell at least 1,000 roses (red, orange, yellow and hot pink), not to mention more than 125 other types of bouquets including tropical flowers from Hawaii, orchids, gingers, protea, combined with anthurium (shape of a heart) and assorted bouquets with stargazer lilies and roses – which she says creates a “really romantic, beautiful smell.”
This year, as in previous years, it will be all hands on deck – they’ll hire temp delivery drivers to help them with the overflow. It will be the boyfriend of the store’s manager, some friends, a previous employee, possibly Sara’s son, and her husband.
While most orders will be for one dozen roses; many men will order two to three dozen. (Sara says it’s usually men doing the ordering – each year, she only receives a few orders from women sending them to men). The record rose- ordering amount was five dozen white roses – which came from a man proposing to his lady.
Now in her 20th year of business, she, together with her husband, Rajesh, are well-established in the Charlotte-area florist community. Originally located in the Arboretum, and now two years after her move to Matthews, she says it was borne of loving the town center’s uniqueness and finding a reasonable location. Her “good customer base” did not hesitate to follow, she said.
Her love of flowers, owning their own business, and the birth of her first son 21 years ago (wanting to be near home or have him be with her) created the perfect symbiosis to enter floristry.
“It’s an interesting business,” she said. “Working with generations to help give messages which touch their heart. We are the one to give them a message for life,” she added, referencing those children who send flowers to the elderly or even critically ill relatives who live in the area.
“We feel good that we’re there for people. Making a connection and giving a good message from family to others,” Sara said.
A cyclical business, the year of a florist typically begins on Valentine’s Day and moves on to proms, Mother’s Day, Teacher’s Appreciation week, graduations, back to school/fall, Thanksgiving and the December holidays. Interspersed are wedding requests.
However, Valentine’s Day remains their biggest and busiest holiday. “We do everything in two days,” she said. “It’s all about love and expressing that to others – including a girlfriend and wife. Kids send them to mothers; fathers send flowers to daughters and to wives. All to show them how much they appreciate how much they do for them,” she adds.
“When we deliver for Valentine’s Day, husbands like to impress their wives at work,” she said, chuckling, that they get to hear the “ooohs and ahhhhs” from the office staff gathering around.
On Valentine’s, more than most other occasions, she finds that “people call at last minute.” A few years ago, a man who had just returned from a trip walked in just as they were closing. He said that he had forgotten the holiday and that he couldn’t show up home without flowers. That was before he realized he’d forgotten his wallet, too.
Sara recalls, “He said, ‘I can’t call my wife to get my credit card number!’ We felt his pain and said, 'we’d make whatever you’d like.’ ” With two dozen roses in hand, he left happy and called back the next day with his credit card info. She adds, “He said, ‘you made my day and my year! I would have had a terrible week, for sure, if I hadn’t given [flowers] to my wife!’ ”