Valentine’s holiday fuels businesses in some areas – Saratogian


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Valentine's holiday fuels businesses in some areas - Saratogian

Valentine’s holiday fuels businesses in some areas – Saratogian

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NEW YORK CAPITAL REGION — While the winter amid the pandemic has proven to be a difficult time for many local businesses, some saw an increase in sales in February due to the Valentine’s Day holiday.

Regional enthusiasts open their wallets on February 14, and the Capital Regions store offering cards, flowers and chocolates may be in luck.

Spending on Valentine’s Day is expected to hit $23.9 billion this year, up from $21.8 billion in 2021 and the second-highest year on record, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“With consumer spending reaching historic levels during the winter break, this trend appears set to continue into 2022,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release. “For many Americans, Valentine’s Day is the A special day, especially as we emerge from the pandemic, retailers are ready to help them celebrate it in a memorable and meaningful way.”

More than half (53%) of US consumers plan to celebrate the holiday in 2022, up from 52% in 2021. More than three-quarters (76%) of celebrants said it was important to do so given the current economic pandemic.

According to the survey, shoppers expect to spend an average of $175.41 per person on Valentine’s Day gifts, up from $164.76 in 2021. The increase is because many intend to spend more on significant others or spouses.

Candy, greeting cards and flowers remain the most popular gifts this Valentine’s Day, which is great news for local establishments like the Pawling Flower Shop in Troy and the Saratoga Candy Company in Saratoga Springs.

Both long-running businesses report that Valentine’s Day has been their busiest day of the year.

“It’s been a busy but rewarding holiday,” said David Johnson, owner of Pawling Florist. “Bring a smile to someone’s face in a frenzy and you feel good.”

The key is to be prepared, said Johnson, who ordered about 1,500 roses this year, recruited extra helpers and offered extended hours over the holidays.

Dawn Oesch, owner of Saratoga Candy Company, agrees. “It’s tiring,” she said of the long preparations, “but it’s worth keeping everyone happy.”

In addition to must-haves like chocolate-dipped strawberries and heart-shaped chocolate boxes, Oesch has created something new this Valentine’s Day called “Breakfast in a Box,” which includes waffles, mini syrups, coffee pods, fudge eggs and orange jelly beans.

In addition to tangible gifts, nearly a third of respondents plan to give a one-night gift this year, up from 24% in 2021 and slightly below pre-pandemic levels, totaling $4.3 billion.

Demand for experiential gifts such as concert or sporting event tickets has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 41% saying they would like to receive an experiential gift, up from 36% last year.

“While traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like candy and flowers never seem to go out of style, both givers and recipients are more willing to go out for a special meal or engage in new experiences than they were a year ago,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice Strategy Strategy President Phil Rist said in a press release, noting that this is especially true among younger groups.

Two local businesses, Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Saratoga Springs and Azuma Sushi Bistro in Malta, are wooing couples by teaming up to host a dinner and dance promotion.

For the Valentine’s Day Date Experience, a total of 250 guests who dine in or take out at Azuma Sushi Bistro on Valentine’s Day will receive a voucher for a 30-minute customizable private lesson at the nearby Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Vouchers can be redeemed at any future date, but must be booked in advance.

“We love being part of the community,” Azuma Sushi Bistro owner Briana Lin said of the partnership, “but this pandemic has made it hard for both small businesses and customers; so when we saw the opportunity to play at Fred Astaire Dance Studios – When Saratoga worked with Elizabeth and Gray, it was an easy decision. Valentine’s Day is a day for friends and couples to celebrate their love, and we wanted to make this celebration special.”

Elizabeth Musko, who owns the local dance studio with her husband Gray, said the free classes were a way for couples to extend their date night. “I think dance helps romance in the first place,” she said, sharing that the studio also has a special group Valentine’s Day class for couples that includes tango, salsa and rumba. “They’re one of the most romantic dances, and they’re also relatively easy to learn.”

To continue celebrating Valentine’s Day, Fred Astaire Dance Studios is hosting a Sweet Tooth Party on Friday, February 18th at 7:45pm. The studio will offer general dance performances to the public, students and professionals, as well as a homemade dessert competition. Attendees are encouraged to bring home-made desserts, with the potential to win a free private lesson if the dessert wins in one of three categories: Best Looking, Best Tasting, or Most Original.

A total of 250 guests who dine in or take out at Azuma Sushi Bistro on Valentine’s Day will receive a voucher for a 30-minute customizable private lesson at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Saratoga Springs that can be redeemed for a future date. (Lauren Halligan – Media News Group)The Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Saratoga Springs will be hosting a Sweet Tooth Party on Friday, February 18, when the studio will feature general dance performances for the public, students and professionals, as well as a homemade dessert competition. (Lauren Halligan – Media News Group)The Saratoga Candy Company prepares thousands of chocolate strawberries every Valentine’s Day. (Photo provided)This Valentine’s Day, Saratoga Candy Company is introducing a new breakfast in a box that includes waffles, mini syrups, coffee pods, fudge eggs and orange jelly beans. (Photo provided)The Valentine’s Day display greeted those who entered the Pawling Flower Shop in early February. (Lauren Halligan – Media News Group)Pawling florist David Johnson prepared a bouquet of red roses for Valentine’s Day. (Lauren Halligan – Media News Group)A sign outside the Pawling florist in Troy reminds passersby of the Valentine’s Day holiday. (Lauren Halligan – Media News Group)According to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, many people celebrating Valentine’s Day plan to give a night of gifts this year, more than in 2021 and slightly below pre-pandemic levels, totaling $4.3 billion. (Picture provided)Spending on Valentine’s Day is expected to reach $23.9 billion this year, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. (Picture provided)Azuma Sushi Bistro has teamed up with local business Fred Astaire Dance Studios to offer local couples a Valentine’s Day date experience, serving Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine. (Lauren Halligan – Media newsgroup file)

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