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)

Nanaimo retailers share the love around Valentine’s Day

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

Nanaimo’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 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

MULTIMEDIA: 17th Maple Sugar festival as sweet as maple syrup

L’Association des francophones de Nanaimo held its 17th Maple Sugar Festival this weekend.

Lantzville’s 1935 Seagrave fire truck returning to its California home

A piece of firefighting history from Lantzville will make its way back to Alameda, Calif.

Trailer fire extinguished in Nanaimo

Fire damage limited thanks to neighbour who spotted smoke and called 911

UPDATE: Stolen pickup truck recovered during arrest south of Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

City to re-name community policing office and keep it open

Council votes 6-2 for city to maintain a presence at Victoria Crescent office

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

The way government learn someone has died is getting a digital overhaul

Governments in Canada turned to private consultants 2 years ago to offer blueprint

Bobsleigh team misses Olympic medal finish

Canadian team finishes four-man event 0.84 seconds behind first place, 0.31 seconds from podium

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Minor injuries after car veers into Courtenay dance studio

A driver and passenger were taken to hospital after their vehicle crashed… Continue reading

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pieces of litter start to add up

There is so much garbage being littered on the side of the road

Most Read