Downtown businesses gearing up for Valentine’s Day

DOWAGIAC — With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Dowagiac residents are starting to feel the love and romance in the air as they plan a special night with their respective sweethearts.

However, local businesses are gearing up for a different kind of Valentine’s Day, one of filling orders and delivering goods to the people of Dowagiac.

Several specialty shops in downtown Dowagiac have already begun preparing for the Valentine’s day rush, with business owners saying that the romantic holiday is one of the busiest days of the year.

Walking into Caruso’s Candy and Soda Shop on Front Street, one is met with the sight of dozens of red and pink heart-shaped boxes lining the walls. In a corner of the shop, an employee arranges dozens of small candies into one of the boxes, getting ready to ship them around the world with some boxes going as far as Japan and the Virgin Islands.

This is how the shop will look until Valentine’s Day has come and gone, said owner Julie Johnson.

“Valentine’s Day is our second busiest candy holiday of the year, the first being Christmas,” she said. “To prepare, we’ve been putting in nights and weekends.”

Johnson said she has been working at Caruso’s since she was a little girl, and each year around Valentine’s Day, she fills hundreds of heart-shaped boxes and hand-dips countless chocolate-covered strawberries.

Having experienced so many years of the Valentine’s season at the candy shop, Johnson said she believes that it is the tradition of the candy that makes it so popular for Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a tradition to get a heart-shaped chocolate box from Caruso’s for a lot of generations, five generations now,” she said. “My sister lives in Texas, but she still has me send her [a box] every year, because it is tradition.”

Johnson said the tradition of the candy boxes will keep her occupied for the next week, filling last-minute orders.

“It’s a crazy week, because lots of guys don’t order ahead of time,” she said. “We are going to be very busy.”

The florists at Booth’s Country Florist on Commercial Street are just as busy as the candy makers at Caruso’s.

Owner Patty Booth said the business sees around 100 more orders on Valentine’s Day than on a regular day at the shop.

“It is the largest single day of selling flowers and deliveries,” she said. “We probably sell around 1,500 roses, 1,000 carnations, plus all the other types of flowers we carry. Our daily sales would be a fraction of that.”

To prepare for the day, Booth and her team have been ensuring they have enough inventory and cleaning and cutting flowers.

The shop will be creating a number of themed arrangements for the romantic day, Booth said.

“It’s a lot of work prior to the day. It’s probably about a week’s worth of getting product in and preparing them for arrangements,” she said.

Despite the extra work of the holiday, both Booth and Johnson said they are excited for Valentine’s Day, not only because it brings in extra business, but because it ties them to the community.

“It’s love of the businesses,” Booth said. “We are able to provide something special that people don’t normally get on an everyday basis, so it’s very uplifting and exciting for people to get these deliveries at work or at home. … We are happy to be a part of that.”

Berrien County

Michigan expanding access to safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan 591,753 cases, 15,563 deaths

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Feb. 24-28

Dowagiac

Dowagiac man arrested on meth charges

Business

Niles restaurants see regulars return as restrictions relax

Berrien County

United Way invites community to sponsor children to receive free books

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan 590,217 cases, 15,558 deaths

Berrien County

Niles Township Parks Board seeks public input at Wednesday hearing

Buchanan

Niles Scream Park seeks new nonprofit organizations

Berrien County

Updated MDHHS orders expand restaurant capacity, increase capacity limits, allow for expanded visitation at residential care facilities

News

Niles Township approves state-outlined poverty guidelines, purchases tractor attachment for trails, considers firefighter applicants

Cass County

Lewis Cass ISD narrows superintendent search to two candidates

Dowagiac

Dowagiac art students complete Lego murals

News

Former surgeon given 10 to 40 years for criminal sexual conduct

Breaking News

UPDATE: Two teenagers injured in shooting at Niles hotel

Dowagiac

SMC unveils scholarship guarantee

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan 589,150 cases, 15,534 deaths

Business

Applications now available for Dowagiac’s Summer in the City Festival

Breaking News

Two shot, wounded at Niles hotel

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces healthcare hiring events

News

Niles Police Log: Feb. 18-25

Edwardsburg

Ontwa Township Edwardsburg Police Log: Feb. 15-22

Dowagiac

SMC graduate experiences Super Bowl

Dowagiac

Dowagiac women aim to create change through local government