Day for love — and a whole lot of flowers

For many, Valentine's Day is a day for romance, extravagance and maybe even a wedding proposal.

But for florists it's the busiest and longest day of the year.

Owner and manager of Parramatta's Atrium Florist Tina Barnes said her day would start at 5am at the Sydney Flower Market in Flemington.

"You have to get there early to make sure you get the best products," she said. "And everything has to be ordered way in advance."

On a regular week she would sell 200 long-stemmed roses but she estimates a sale of 6000 in the week of Valentine's Day.

"The increase is astronomical," Mrs Barnes said. "I've also had to stock more chocolates, bears, love candy and gifts like candles and oils."

She said it was the biggest selling day of the year.

A single long-stemmed red rose in a gift box will set you back at least $35. So, with a pre-order of about 6000 for the occasion, one would think Atrium Florist would be in for a big profit.

But Mrs Barnes said "profit is not as much as you'd think".

"Of course there is a substantial difference, but you have to take into account that the florists also put the prices up and I have to pay for 10 extra staff to keep up with demand," she said.

"We're expecting about 500 deliveries on the day."

According to market researchers from IBISWorld, flower retailing is a $930 million a year industry in Australia that generates 5193 jobs.

Mrs Barnes has owned the store for 10 years.

"It's very creative and there is nothing better than knowing your work makes people happy," she said.

■ Details: Atrium Florist is on shop 7/2-12 Macquarie Street, Parramatta, 9893 8964.

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