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The thorny issue of Valentine’s Day rose pricing

I think they have this about right. Costco does a good job for the do it yourself customer. You get to see what you are buying and they generally have a great selection. Willie

If anyone knows a thing or two about buying roses, it’s John Sullivan, a man who’s given his wife Sally roses on every Valentine’s Day for more than 40 years.

Sullivan, 68, a buyer’s real estate agent from Cheverly, Maryland, tackles the annual price run-up by getting his blooms at the warehouse store Costco, where he says it costs him about $25 for a dozen.

He has tried grocery store flowers and online sellers and has avoided higher-end florists to keep costs under control. He likes the quality of the roses at Costco compared to what’s at the supermarket.

“I didn’t get my bank account balanced by spending foolishly,” Sullivan says.

Indeed, red roses will be a hot commodity, come February 14.

Growers, largely from Ecuador, Mexico and Columbia, scramble to meet enormous demand ahead of Valentine’s Day, setting in motion an upward price push that impacts most modern-day Cupids.

Other factors beyond supply and demand figure into price inflation, explains industry veteran Peter McBride, owner of and Towers Flowers florist shop in Babylon, New York.

Lofty labor costs at the farms, to meet the spike in demand, and higher transportation costs as large volumes of the blooms are moved within a brief period, also boost prices, McBride says.

The rose-buying public still encounters a wide variety in pricing – anything from $10 or under for a dozen red roses at the local corner store to $20 at the supermarket, to more than $90 at a high-end florist.


A dozen red roses from different vendors may sound like the same flower, but they may not all, figuratively, smell as sweet.

Indeed, they can be significantly different, says Gregg Weisstein, co-founder and chief operating officer of – a marketplace for more than 2,000 local florists.

While you can save money by buying flowers at a grocery store, Weisstein says, “That’s the stuff the florists don’t want to work with.”

Some markets, like Wegman’s, won’t sacrifice quality, and as a result, don’t sell bargain roses, McBride says.

Grocers also keep their prices lower, he says, by not offering delivery, ordering earlier and getting shorter stemmed roses.

Length of stem is a key factor in pricing, in addition to quality. Long-stemmed red roses measuring 60-70 centimeters cost about 95 cents per stem wholesale compared to a medium-stemmed rose of about 50 centimeters, which costs about 75 cents, McBride says.

In early February, prices surge to about $2 a stem for the longer-stemmed and about $1.50 for the medium-stemmed flowers.

So, it’s possible to see a $15 bouquet on the street corner with shorter stems, inferior quality, and a shorter time upright.


Author: Mitch Lipka



Source : chicago tribune

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