Article for the Forest Park Review, 2/10/16
By Tom Holmes
Over 3000 ways to say I love you
The Hallmark store on Madison St. has 3000 cards from which to choose as a way of saying I love you on Valentine’s Day, according to Sandra Schauer who owns the shop along with Schauer’s Hardware next door.
Scott, her son who helps run the store, said that he will sell about 85% of them by Sunday evening, making it one of the biggest holidays of the year for them in terms of sales. The store, which Sandra purchased in 2007 and which previously was called Rosanne’s Hallmark, has cards customized for almost every loved one you can think of.
There is a line called Mahogany created for the African American market. There are cards in Spanish. “A mi esposa, tu eres la persona que me conoce como realament soy, asi me queres. Te amo,” i.e. “to my wife, you’re the one person who really knows me and you still love me. I love you.”
Among the cards in the 28 foot long display are expressions of love for husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandparents, grandchildren, step-parents, step-children, mothers-in-law, uncles, aunts and even pets.
The cover of one card to be given by a pet to its human features a dog dressed as Darth Vader with the words Happy Valentines Day. When opened it says, from the bark side. Another has a cat saying to its human, “I love being your purrrfect valentine.” Scott doesn’t recall any pets coming in to buy the cards, so he’s not sure how the exchange happens.
Among the humorous cards is one which declares, “I’ll never forget the day Eiffel in love with you.” On top of that the recipient is treated to a French song played on an accordion when the card is opened.
According to the website Statistic Brain 51% of those giving something to loved ones on Valentine’s Day give a greeting card. Next in popularity is candy (47.5%), so after purchasing a card, generous gift givers can walk a block east from the Hallmark store to La Maison de Bonbon where Radana Kujova will put her world famous French Cremes or an assortment of candy in an environmentally friendly heart shaped box. Kujova said that returning customers often bring the box from last year to refill for this year.
She added that she does cross marketing with Moss Modern Flowers a few doors away. “Chris Geoghegan and I are promoting each other’s stores,” she said. “I have her flower arrangement in my store and she has a heart shaped candy box from us in her store.”
“We do not sell lots of dozen rose orders,” said Geoghegan because her style of arrangement uses many non-floral elements. “We will always suggest a more exotic fun mix with a few roses added in.” Statistic Brain reports that 34.3% of people giving gifts choose flowers.
SoftSchool.com and Statistic Brain both say that 85% of the Valentine’s cards sold are purchased by women. Sandra Schauer confirmed that statistic. “Women are the mainstay,” she said. “They’re in here a lot, and the men come in the day of or the day before no matter what the holiday.”
Scott said that he can plan on staying an hour after they close on both Saturday and Sunday because of people waiting till the last minute. Geoghegan expressed the same frustration. “Impulse buying accounts for 80% of our sales,” she said. “We encourage people to preorder, because it is difficult to determine how many fresh flowers to order.”
All of the merchants had heart warming stories to tell about Valentine’s Day. Scott pointed out some cards that were special. One has Snoopy holding Woodstock on the cover with the message, “To grandma. You’re warmer than a comfy hug, as snuggly as a nest. Of all the valentines there are, you are the very best. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Kujova said that in the past several years men have put engagement rings in the heart shaped candy boxes and now the couples are coming in with their babies. “I have customers for decades buying French Cremes, because it was what their parents and grandparents did in the past. I have little boys buy little chocolate treats for their second grade crushes.” The Hallmark store carries products specifically created for children in the form of 32 card packs for kids to pass out to their classmates with characters from Star Wars, Peanuts, and Disney.
Kujova’s business seems to attract friendly customers. “It’s fun to have a store in which only nice and happy people are shopping. I love my customers and I’m proud they choose us for such a special occasion.”
The Schauers noted that many factors can influence their sales, the weather being one example. “The weather makes a big difference,” said Scott. “The big snow six years ago on Valentine’s Day–nobody could get here. Even rain hurts us.”
Changes in the culture have also influenced sales. While Sandra thinks that people seem to be sending fewer greeting cards than they used to, Scott noted that shoppers are tending to purchase more cards at a time. He said they’ll come in and buy six cards to cover the whole month—for a birthday, a wedding, a graduation, an anniversary and whatever occasions are coming up.
FROM CATHOLICS ONLINE
St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. Catholics Online
FROM SOFT.SCHOOL.COM From SoftSchool.com
On Valentine’s Day every year, there are at least 36 million heart shape boxes of chocolates sold.
Approximately 15% of women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
At least 9 million people buy their pets a gift on Valentine’s Day.
$130.97 — The per person average estimated amount that people will spend on Valentine’s Day.
224 million — The estimated number of roses grown for Valentine’s Day.
51% — The percentage of people who buy red roses for this holiday.
64% — The percentage of men who buy flowers for Valentine’s Day.
6 million — The number of people who expect or are planning a marriage proposal
145 million — The unit amount of Valentine’s cards purchased.
FROM STATISTIC BRAIN
$116.21 Amount the average consumer spends on Valentine’s Day
53% percent of women who would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day