Today will be pretty busy for Jim Alice, owner of Liberty Park Florist & Greenhouses at Eighth Avenue and Perry Street.
Jim represents the third generation of his family to own the landmark Spokane business started by his Italian immigrant grandfather, Dominic, in 1929. He took over from his father, Joe, and uncle Leo.
Last week, the florist took time out to speak to The Spokesman-Review about Valentine’s Day.
Q. How big is St. Valentine’s Day?
A. Pretty much the single-busiest flower day of the year. Sales of roses increase a hundredfold. A lot of men like to send flowers to their wives at work, so boom, it all happens on one day, particularly when it falls on Monday.
Q. How do you handle the demand?
A. I’ll work very late this weekend getting ready. I’ve been lucky. The Kiwanis Club helps make deliveries. About 12 or 15 of them volunteer and then I send them a donation.
They are the greatest bunch of people in the world.
I also shift my employees from the greenhouse to help inside.
Q. What do people buy for Valentine’s Day?
A. Mainly roses, but also mixed bouquets, spring bulb gardens – tulips and orchids are popular.
Q. Where do all those flowers come from?
A. They come in over the weekend from South America. We like to get our roses in fresh. Some flowers are still grown in California or Colorado, but most come from south of the border. There are no growers left in Spokane. The economy of scale no longer works for that.
In our greenhouses, we grow perennials and poinsettias during Christmas or hanging baskets for Mother’s Day.
Q. What tips do you have for folks buying flowers for their valentine?
A. If there is a way to personalize the arrangement, that helps. A guy brought in a barbecue grill for us to do an arrangement in. Now that’s romantic.
If you buy online, be careful. There may be hidden fees, and you are dealing with someone you don’t know.
Keep the water in the vase changed.