Jackie Macaulay, owner of Jarrett’s Jungle, prepares a tropical bouquet. She is getting ready for Valentine’s Day amid supply chain issues and a shortage of flowers. Photos by Abigail Brandon
As another Valentine’s Day arrives, supply chain issues continue to plague small businesses around the Midlands. Floral shops are no exception.
Due to a high demand for flowers, increasing shipping costs and lack of supply, Floral Elegance by Jourdain in Columbia has had to raise prices this Valentine’s Day. Owner Ruby Jourdain said she hasn’t seen anything like this during her 35 years in the floral business as she has gone from vendor to vendor searching for flowers and vases.
While demand is about the same, she said, “the cost is a lot more and securing the product is a lot harder this year than ever before.”
Floral Elegance is not alone in struggling to find Valentine’s Day musts. Nearly 42% of wholesale small business respondents reported foreign supplier delays in late 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This includes Jourdain, who says she gets her roses from South America.
Jarrett’s Jungle, a florist in West Columbia, also buys a lot of flowers from overseas. According to Jackie Macaulay, the owner of the shop, shipping delays have resulted in quality and quantity issues.
“We’re not having that big of a problem because we’re not that big of a volume business, but I know it’s affecting everyone who’s a florist right now,” Macaulay said. “Not being able to get the quantities and qualities that you were always used to.”
Keith Skowronski, an assistant professor in the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, said a lot of supply chain issues are due to labor shortages and a decrease in demand over the last couple years.
“All supply chains, in general, are tough things to change or turn them off to turn back on. It’s not a light switch,” Skowronski said.
These supply chain issues come at an unfortunate time for florists who say February is the busiest time of the year for flower orders. However, Macaulay said she has adjusted by getting her flowers from more accessible places like Florida and California.
Despite this year’s setbacks, Floral Elegance has had more orders this Valentine’s Day compared to years past, said Joe Price, a delivery driver for the shop.
“People are going to buy for their loved ones even if it means budgeting other places,” Jourdain said. “You got to have flowers for Valentine’s Day.”
Other Valentine’s Day gifts – such as stuffed animals and gift bags – haven’t been much of a problem to buy for Jourdain.
Both Jourdain and Macaulay encourage customers to order as soon as possible. Macaulay says with a limited amount of flowers this year, customers may miss out if they order too late.
“I think we have 550 or 600 roses ordered, so once I sell all of those dozens, then I don’t have anymore and I’m not sure if I can get anymore,” she said. “Plus, I’m not sure if I can make them all if I do get more than that.”
Amid these challenges, Jourdain remains positive with just a few days until Valentine’s Day.
“I think we’ll be able to pull it off,” she said. “I’m optimistic.”
ABOUT THE JOURNALISTS
Cam Adams is a senior multimedia journalist from Greenwood, South Carolina. He writes at Metsmerized Online, part of the USA Today Network. Adams has worked as a sports writer and an assistant sports editor at The Daily Gamecock, the student paper at UofSC. In his free time, Adams enjoys watching Marvel movies and keeping up with sports. He plans to become a sports writer at a daily newspaper where he can use his skills to best serve that community.
Abigail Brandon is a multimedia journalist from Columbia, South Carolina, with a passion for radio. She has worked at UofSC’s college radio station WUSC as a DJ and as a reporter for WUSC News. She is known for telling a good story and plans to transfer that talent into telling engaging and informative audio stories.