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The cost of love: Local florists see ‘very gradual’ increase in roses in recent years

Cindy Barns puts together an order for a bouquet order of roses on Monday afternoon at Nepstad's Flowers and Gifts in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)1 / 3
Finished vases of roses sit in a row on Monday at Cherrybee's Floral & Gifts in Mitchell. (Sarah Barclay / Republic)2 / 3
Cherrybee's employee Karen Smith finishes up a vase of roses on Monday at Cherrybee's Floral and Gifts in Mitchell. (Sarah Barclay / Republic)3 / 3

Roses are red ... and expensive, too.

For Mitchell residents looking to buy a bouquet of roses for Valentine's Day Tuesday, it's going to cost approximately $85.

This is the price of a dozen, long-stemmed red roses at both of Mitchell's two florists — Nepstad's Floral and Gifts and Cherrybee's Floral and Gifts

While that price may seem spendy, that's been the typical cost for the past few years, according to Renee Polreis, the manager at Nepstad's. Polreis parents, Cindy and Stuart Barns, own the shop.

"We haven't had a huge hike in rose prices," Polreis said. "If it has been, it's been very gradual. Prices have been very comparable for a few years ago. Of course, there will come a time when we'll have to go up in price, again."

This price is not determined by the shop, but by the farms and sources of the flowers, Polreis said, with most of the roses coming from South America.

But for those interested in buying roses at other times of the year, don't worry, as this $85-price tag is just the "Valentine's prices," Polreis said. For other times of the year, Polreis said the average price of a dozen roses is around $75.

And the same goes for Cherrybee's Floral and Gifts, according to Dick Anderson, the co-owner of the shop along with his wife, Betty. Anderson said there hasn't been a price increase in roses for at least four years.

But while there hasn't been an increase recently, it is up from nearly 10 years ago when the price of a dozen red roses was approximately $15 less than it is Tuesday. In February 2007, both floral shops reported a price of $69 for a dozen red roses.

Valentine's Day is one of the busiest times of the year for the florists in town, Anderson said, and preparing for Valentine's Day is a team effort. For the past week, the workers at Cherrybee's have been gearing up for the holiday event, with approximately 23 people on staff, Anderson said. Typically there are only 10 workers, with a majority being part-time.

And each year is a guessing game for how many orders will come in for Valentine's Day, but to prepare, Anderson said, the shop ships in "thousands and thousands" of roses.

"I describe Valentine's Day as planning for a big, huge dinner party and everybody's invited but you don't know who's going to come," Anderson said. "And that's the best way of saying it because we don't know who's going to come and we don't know how much to prepare for, but we bought the product and now we have to wait and see who comes."

And because Valentine's Day falls on a weekday this year, Anderson said it'll be one of the best as far as orders go. Anderson estimates there will be hundreds of orders, but as for a specific amount, he's unsure.

All he knows is, it'll be a lot.

Calls for floral arrangements were in full swing Monday afternoon, as expected, Anderson said, with many boyfriends and husbands doing some last-minute shopping. And there will be even more calls this morning, Anderson said.

"Us guys are not planners," Anderson said with a laugh.

But both shops are prepared for the hectic and busy times that come with Valentine's Day — as it is nearly every single year, according to Polreis, who has the credentials to prove it. Polreis is a member of the American Institute of Floral Design, a certified floral designer and a South Dakota certified florist, so Valentine's Day orders are nothing new to her and her family.

She estimates there will be approximately 200 to 300 orders Tuesday at Nepstad's, and she and the staff are ready.

"It's crazy and awesome and we love it," Polreis said.