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February 14, 2011

Looking for gifts

Last-minute shoppers still in luck.

For those scrambling to find the last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts, rest assured that you aren’t alone and there are options out there.

Derek McGuire, an owner of Fernbaugh’s Jewelry Store, said the store would be open on Monday, which is typically a day off.

“Because it is Valentine’s Day, we need to be here,” he said.

While Monday used to be the slowest day of the week, McGuire expects it to be the busiest day for the Valentine’s Day shopping season.

In fact, business owners almost expect a rush at the last minute each year.

“We’re talking about guys here,” McGuire said.

This year, Fernbaugh’s has also tried to make adjustments in stock for its customers.

With gold priced at such high level, McGuire said not everyone can afford it. Therefore, the business is carrying a selection of silver jewelry, many items shaped in hearts.

Most men, including last-minute shoppers, usually buy necklaces, earrings or the Pandora charms.

While the store has restocked items already this week, McGuire said selections can run slim. It all depends on sale numbers, which can be difficult to predict each year.

At Warner’s Greenhouse, Valentine’s Day orders started coming in anywhere from a week to 10 days in advance.

Owner Ben Rozzi said Valentine’s Day was a big holiday for the floral shop. It ranks as one of the top holidays in addition to Mother’s Day and Christmas.

According to Rozzi, many customers are good about ordering ahead of time.

“They want to make sure they get what they want,” he said.

For those who did order ahead, Warner’s Greenhouse decided to open on Monday for pickups. Workers hope it will help alleviate some of the foot traffic.

While Warner’s Greenhouse would prefer to have orders as early as possible, the business usually still has a selection of items even on Valentine’s Day.

“We can always sell them something,” said employee Peggy Berry.

The store carries roses, balloons, stuffed animals and candy, she said.

The floral shop is also offering a Valentine’s Day special arrangement. Rozzi said the business tries to make sure it keeps a few made ahead of time.

For those looking to eat out for the holiday, Amelio’s & Ike’s Sports Bar is offering a dinner special.

The menu for two includes asparagus, spring salad, baked potato, trotter steak, lobster tail and cheesecake all for $44, with no substitutions. Dinner also includes a bottle of Isaac Way Merlot.

While reservations are not required, the restaurant will have a certain amount of the special in stock, but the regular menu will also be available.

Chef Sonny Walker said people could still call in after 11 a.m. Monday to check for availability of reservations on the special menu.

“Last year, we had quite a few reservations and quite a few still walk in,” he added.

On average, the restaurant starts receiving reservations anywhere from one to two months in advance.

According to Walker, Valentine’s Day is pretty big holiday for people in general.

“I think most people like to go out and eat,” he said. “They like to have a nice dinner — something romantic.”

For those who might not be able to take their loved one out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, Walker suggested a gift certificate for future use.

“We have gift certificates all the time,” he said. “It’s a great idea. You can give it to your loved ones or friends.”

Criss Cross Hair Designs and Day Spa Owner Christine Centers said Valentine’s Day was a really big holiday for the salon.

“It’s a holiday people like to do something special for someone they love,” she said.

Some shoppers start looking for items at the beginning of February.

“They realize another holiday is coming up,” Centers said. “Valentine’s Day usually sneaks up pretty quickly.”

Something new the salon offers is the ability to buy gift certificates and packages through the business website.

“They can print off the certificate and choose their own template,” Centers said. “It’s only a few weeks old, but is working really well.”

Criss Cross Hair Designs and Day Spa typically sells a lot of spa packages to men for their significant others during the Valentine’s Day holiday. Centers said best friends packages are also popular.

The business offers a variety of spa packages, including hot stones, men’s spa packages, a variety of personal packages. People also buy dollar amounts, if they are unsure of what their significant other would be interested in. The most popular gifts purchased include massages, pedicures and facials.

According to the National Retail Federation, total Valentine’s Day sales are expected to reach $15.7 billion this year.

The federation’s 2011 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, stated the average person will pay $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise. This figure is up 11 percent over last year’s $103.

Greeting cards are expected to be the most popular gift option at 52.1 percent, while jewelry is at 17.3 percent, up from 15.5 percent last year.

The survey estimates people will spend $3.5 billion on jewelry, $1.6 billion on clothing and $3.4 billion on dining out. An estimated $1.7 billion will be spent on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy and $1.1 billion on greeting cards.

McGuire, though, says the Valentine’s Day gift doesn’t have to be expensive.

“We have items starting at $25 and up,” McGuire said. “People have it locked in their mind it will cost at least $100 when they walk in here, but I want them to understand that’s not true.”

• Denise Massie is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or

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