Valentine’s Day spending is up this year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, likely to top a record $17.6 billion.
With the holiday falling on a Tuesday this year, that means that many couples are likely to do their celebrating the weekend previous. Collingswood Patch asked residents, shoppers and retailers about their amorous plans for the day.
“I’m going to dinner at P.F. Chang’s with my husband and two daughters,” said Valerie Brown of Haddon Township.
Brown, who works at AMC Movie Theaters, said she naturally sees couples out on Valentine’s Day dates every year. She’s looking forward to spending the time with her family.
Her mother, Bonnie Richards, says the best Valentine’s Day she’s ever had was in Jamaica, where she was on a vacation that incidentally fell on the day.
At The Candy Jar, Mark Bertram of Pennsville was buying sweets for his wife and young daughters. Bertram knew his stuff, too, picking up cream-only chocolates for his wife, and “anything with peanut butter” for his little girls.
In 10 years of marriage, Bertram said he has always cooked dinner on Valentine’s Day.
“If it’s warm enough, I’ll barbecue steaks; if it’s not, I’ll cook chicken,” he said.
Candy Jar owner Laurie Cohen said that the most popular items for Valentine’s Day are “buttercreams, buttercreams, and more buttercreams.”
“I find that my customers buy their wives 1 pound of chocolates and their girlfriends 2 pounds,” she joked.
Cohen said that she’s surprised by the number of younger customers—teenagers into their early 20s—who come in to buy gift baskets for their sweethearts and mothers.
“I had this store 10 years ago and I didn’t see that,” she said.
So if you work in a high-traffic area on Valentine’s Day, what kinds of gifts can you expect to receive yourself?
“A bed and a pillow,” said designer Jim Duffy of Aster’s Floral Shop, which promises extended hours to accommodate last-minute shoppers, “because I’m exhausted.”