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Shop in Yoakum takes on Valentine's Day (w/video)

By Jessica Rodrigo
Feb. 11, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 10, 2014 at 8:11 p.m.

Cheryl Loos, 50, of Yoakum, arranges flowers in her staging room at Karl's Flowers and Gifts in Yoakum. Loos has owned her flower shop for 31 years, and, with the help of volunteers, the shop will make about 300 deliveries this Valentine's Day.

Karl's Flowers by the numbers

3 - Delivery vans used on Valentine's Day

31 - Years Cheryl Loos has owned Karl's Flower and Gift Shop

40 - Small arrangements made as grab-and-go options

300 - Estimated number of deliveries on Valentine's Day

1,200 - roses ordered

YOAKUM - Flowers aren't just for Valentine's Day.

Shops sell flowers for other occasions, too, said Cheryl Loos, owner of Karl's Flowers and Gift Shop in Yoakum, and that's what makes operations on the romantic holiday difficult.

"Valentine's Day is easy; it is the daily stuff that's hard," said the 50-year-old florist.

This year, her calendar includes making flower arrangements for two funerals that sandwich Friday, and that means she needs to be thinking about more than just red roses, balloons and teddy bears.

Loos bought the shop when she was 19 years old, and every year, Valentine's Day is a busy day for her small shop. She said the holiday poses a different kind of obstacle.

Down the street, Ann's Flowers, the only other flower shop in Yoakum, closes for the first two weeks in February. It's completely intentional, too, Loos said.

For about eight years, Ann Clark, owner of Ann's Flowers, has closed for one of the busiest days in the floral business.

Starting Feb. 1, a note is posted on the door of Ann's Flowers that reads "Temporarily closed; will open Feb. 17."

Clark did not comment about why she closes.

Since Loos knows Clark will close her shop, making sure she has enough help Friday to make the nearly 300 deliveries becomes a priority.

"We can only do as much as we can, so everyone has a chance to get something delivered to them," she said. "Everyone wants a delivery."

Fortunately, she has a large family and network of friends who volunteer their time to deliver flowers.

Outside Valentine's Day, Karl's Flowers and Gifts has three full-time positions that include taking calls, designing arrangements and making deliveries.

Jessica Williams, 36, will volunteer Friday for the second time as a delivery person.

The best part about making deliveries, she said, is seeing the expression on someone's face when they get their gift.

"Most times, the women don't know that they are getting flowers, so when they open the door, they're ecstatic and so surprised," Williams said.

She also volunteers on Mother's Day but said that it's not nearly as busy as Valentine's Day.

Knowing how insane the day is, she said it's hard to believe Ann's Flowers closes.

"It just seems so overwhelming for one shop to do it all," Williams said.

Most of the arrangements can be made ahead of time, but Loos said the deliveries are what takes up most of the day.

Debbie Chaka, 56, has been working at Karl's for about eight years and can't imagine what the day would be like if there was another flower shop open to offer deliveries.

"I've never known any different, so I can't complain," she said, laughing.

In the days before the flowers can be used in arrangements, Chaka will spend time standing in a back room removing thorns and leaves from the roses.

The flowers will come out of boxes they were delivered in, get watered and moved into one of the two walk-in coolers that will be filled to the door with fragrant blooms.

If the shop doesn't have enough space, Loos said Clark will share the space in her cooler for the flowers.

"We have a great relationship," Loos said. "As the only shops in town, we have to work together."

For Loos, when the orders begin trickling in, she said it's her job to make sure the customer gets what he or she wanted.

"My goal is to be able to do every order," she said. "I would love to serve everybody, but there is just a limit to what can be done."

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