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Floral shops answer call to duty this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is the biggest flower holiday of the year.

Yet, due to the coronavirus pandemic, florists can only do curbside pickup and no contact delivery.

Denise Sebelin, who has owned DeeZines Flowers & Gifts in Jim Thorpe for over 30 years, said wholesalers have been running out of flowers due to the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19.

“This is definitely one for the books,” Sebelin said. “We’ve been doing the best we can with selling flowers; what I have in the shop is basically what we have to sell.”

However, Sebelin said with the economy being what it is and with wholesalers running out of flowers, the shop is doing the best it can to satisfy its customers needs.

“Everyone is starting to be sold out of flowers across the board, wholesalers, florists,” she said. “We’ve been busy; the phone’s been ringing off the hook.”

Sebelin said the shop has been doing no-contact deliveries, and having people call ahead and pick up curbside. There’s a box by the door for customers to put their cash in to pay, or they can call with their credit card information.

“We’ve been plugging along. It’s been different,” she said. “Everyone is being so kind and very supportive, and we really appreciate it.”

It’s been much the same at Porvaznik’s Flowers & Gifts in Lansford.

Megan Anderson, who said this year will mark 30 years that’s she’s owned the shop, said customers can pay for their flowers over the phone by credit card, or can order on the shop’s website, lansfordflorist.com.

“As far as the delivery goes, it’s been fairly easy. We call the customers and tell them we’re on our way and we’ll call them and let them on their porch,” Anderson said. “Pickups have been OK; they call in and place their order and give us an about time when they want to pick it up, and when they get here, they call us.”

Anderson said the shop ran into some trouble Thursday because the phone line was constantly busy, which prompted her to post on Facebook for customers to knock on the door.

“We were not really knowing what to expect, and we didn’t really know if we would be as busy. We are about five times busier than normal,” she said. “It’s been crazy; a lot of our suppliers are out of flowers, (so) trying to get flowers has nearly been impossible, and it’s not just us, it’s every florist.”

Anderson said she believes that’s because no one can take their moms out to eat, and perhaps can’t see them, so flowers are essentially the next best thing.

“The first week, we were pretty much completely closed, our staff was laid off,” she said. “However, the Payroll Protection Act, we did apply for that, so we have been able to keep them on (the) payroll; we should be getting our money in soon.”

Anderson said that while things have been difficult for her business, they could also be a lot worse.

“I think as far as business goes, we’ve been somewhat fortunate because we can do noncontact delivery,” she said. “We’re fortunate that we can still deliver, where other businesses may not be able to.”

While the shop’s sales were down the month of April compared to in year’s past, Anderson said she expects Memorial Day to be just as busy as Mother’s Day.

“The prom, I’ve heard that some schools may do the prom later in the summer (so) that may be an option, graduations of course, we missed out on that, and weddings have been postponed,” she said. “Our customers have been very understanding. We have the best customers.”

Though it’s good to be open, that hasn’t made things any easier for Donna Smith, who has owned Edwards Flowers in Tamaqua for the past 28 years.

“We filled all the windows with all of the silks that we have for the holidays,” Smith said. “They can come out front and pick out what they want; they’re numbered (so) they call the numbers to us from out front with their credit card, we set them out front or on the side of the building, and then they pick them up.”

Nonetheless, Smith said it’s been “very different. We’re short-handed; we had to lay off, it’s just my daughter and I (and) we have somebody come in when we have deliveries and take the deliveries.

“It’s just been a difficult time trying to help everybody and get them what they want,” she said. “Just a sad time.”

Sad indeed as it is, Blended Bakery at 158 S. First St. in Lehighton has devised its own creative concept for Mother’s Day.

Owner Christina Yurasits said the bakery has been making its own cupcake bouquets where customers get a beautiful bouquet of flowers that they can eat.

“Normally we offer cakes for Mother’s Day as our special, but since family’s aren’t having large gatherings, we decided to do the small cupcake floral bouquets,” Yurasits said. “We also do royal icing cooking bouquet.”

Yurasits said they are only doing curbside service every Saturday, but noted they are still accepting cake orders for graduations, birthdays, and other special occasions.

“We’ve been a little bit more busier than we expected,” she said. “We’re happy to be part of the community.”

So, too, is Pine Haven Farm Market in Tamaqua, where business has been scorching hot of late, according to manager Wendall Martin.

“We definitely had a lot of business this year,” Martin said. “People have been doing well at shopping local.”

Martin said products the market has been specializing in for Mother’s Day include hanging baskets and patio planters, as well as smaller plants and homemade baked goods that customers like to pick up for their mothers.

“As far as business goes, we have not been slower, we have been busier; we’ve been almost understaffed as a family-run business,” he said. “It’s been busy.”

Denise Sebelin, owner of DeeZines Flowers & Gifts in Jim Thorpe, organizes plants on the outdoor racks at the store Friday morning. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS