Valentine's Day is arguably one of the biggest days of the year for the flower business, and last-minutes shoppers and busy retailers were up early to finalize the deal.
A host of people, from panicky boyfriends waiting to the last minute to small business flower shops striving to fill final orders, packed San Francisco's Flower Mart to grab colorful and blossoming bouquets.
"Almost everyone waits until the last minute," Christina Stembel, owner of Farmgirl Flowers, said "We sold out last Friday for Valentine's Day and have fielded thousands of requests since Friday."
Those requests required Stembel's emloyees to wake up before dawn and hit the ground running. Beginning at 2 a.m., Stembel and her team raced to accomplish roughly 2,000 local deliveries in San Francisco alone before the day's end.
Sean Nestleroad from Torchio Nursery, a wholesale vendor, said the past few days have been jam-packed with business as he handed his flowers over to local florists. Valentine's Day will admittedly be light for his business because the heavy-lifting was completed earlier in the week, but he said that February 14th is probably the second-busiest day for the flower industry behind Mother's Day.
"I guess everybody has a mom and not everybody has a sweetheart," he laughed.
Sergio Gallegos from Vacaville does have a sweetheart, and he visited the San Francisco Flower Mart early Tuesday to pick out a special surprise for his lady.
"Trying to get some flowers for my girl early morning before I go to work so I can surprise her in the afternoon," he said. "Trying to make a special day today."
A traditional bouquet of one dozen roses was not on Gallegos' list. He wanted to step up his game.
"I don't even know what these are, but actually they look kind of interesting and different," he chuckled as he stared at his purchase of assorted flowers. "That's what I'm going for now cause the typical roses, I gotta change it up."
As the old adage goes, it's the thought that counts.