For sweethearts, Valentine gifts galore to be had here

Published 5:13 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- With Valentine's Day drawing near, local retailers are expecting a boom in business created by the rush of last minute gift shoppers.
While it is a big business day for some speciality shops, Niles retailers have pointed out it has traditionally been a holiday characterized by late shoppers.
Kim Smothermon, a sales associate at The Flower Cart, expects record sales this Valentine's Day, but she agreed the biggest shopping days have yet to come.
He said the Feb. 14 holiday provides the biggest single day of business of the year, while the week of Mother's Day is the best holiday overall for the flower business.
The increase in business means a lot more work for the flower shops.
Employees at The Flower Cart were busy putting together special Valentine's Day floral arrangements with heart covered vases on Tuesday.
Hurlbutt said their delivery service will be required to go from one delivery vehicle to five on Friday and Saturday.
Peters said East Main Gardens will have between eight and ten delivery vehicles on the road on Friday and Saturday.
East Main Gardens currently has over 3,000 roses in stock and Peters hopes to get rid of all of them by the end of the week.
Both flower shops mentioned red roses are still the Valentine's Day favorite.
The price for a dozen roses ranges from $50 to $75, depending on the quality and the option of having them in a vase or a box.
Peters mentioned they also have a number of Valentine's Day specials including a combination of threes roses in a vase, a red Valentine's Day bear and a box of candy for $35.
Smothermon also said The Flower Cart has a number of in house Valentine's Day specials that include a combination of flowers, plush teddy bears and their newly added chocolates from the South Bend Chocolate Company.
Another traditionally popular Valentine's Day gift is candy and 2004 is no exception.
When you walk into Veni Sweet Shop in downtown Niles, you are overwhelmed with reminders of this weekend's coming holiday.
The counters are aligned with a variety of heart shaped candy boxes and gift wrapped specials that tempt customers as they enter the store.
Al Marazita, owner of Veni Sweet Shop, said sales have been very good, especially with heart-shaped chocolates and others candies that go along with the holiday theme.
For those early birds who already have their shopping done and are looking for a way to spend their Valentine's Day, the Niles Service League will be putting on their annual 69th annual charity ball on Saturday evening.
The charity ball, which is being called "the social event of the season," will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Knollwood Country Club.
The elegant evening will include a cocktail hour, dinner, an auction and dancing with entertainment provided by The Music Machine with Paul Chamberlin.
Tickets are $100 per couple. For more information, call Becky Hamm at 684-5044.