Even in lean times, romance rules day

The economic crisis is deepening. How about your love?
Record job loss is hardly the thing of romance novels, but many local people seem certain that Valentine’s Day is recession proof.
Ahhh, the recession, c’est romantique.
Melissa Thomas, 19, told her family to hold the chocolates this year; she’s trying to stick to her New Year’s resolution. So her mom sent her socks for the lovey-dovey holiday instead.
Even if money is tight, Valentine’s Day is not a holiday that can be ignored, she said.
“I have friends that are excited about Valentine’s Day the second Christmas is over,” Thomas said.
Consumers plan to spend an average $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise per person, according to a National Retail Federation survey. That amount is down from last year’s $122.98. Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion based on estimates.
“A bad economy won’t stop Cupid this Valentine’s Day, but it might slow him down,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin, in a news release. “This year more than ever, consumers will look for creative and inexpensive ways to show those they love how much they mean to them.”
The phone at Bin 707 Food & Wine restaurant, was ringing off the hook for Feb. 14 dinner reservations, said the restaurant’s managing partner Josh Niernberg.
The restaurant is almost overbooked for Valentine’s Day dinner at 50 reservations. The pre-fixed, five course, wine-pairing menu will set a couple back $100.
Inari’s Bistro in Palisade filled up for Valentine’s Day earlier this year than last year. The restaurant had a waiting list for reservations, co-owner Meg Albers said.
Albers said the restaurant is aware that people in Palisade have lost their oil jobs, so it lowered their menu prices from last Valentine’s Day.
“We just wanted to be more conscious of people’s budgets,” Albers said.
Also looking to help out is St. Kathryn Cellars, part of the Talon Wine Brand in Palisade. The winery is giving people a free half-pound of chocolate fudge when they purchase three bottles of wine in February.
“Everybody’s cutting back, but our business has done pretty well in this climate,” said Glenn Foster, owner and winemaker at St. Kathryn’s. “It’s just been nice to have so much support from the local community. We just want to say ‘thanks’ to everybody and ‘here’s a little sweetheart deal.’ ”
The fudge is homemade and has fewer calories if you break it up into little pieces, Foster joked.
You won’t get a tax rebate for buying a dozen roses, but you won’t get kicked out of the house either.
“I think people are trying to cut back a little,” said Crys Garner, floral manager at Johnson’s House of Flowers. “Last year people went nuts. This year they’re calling first and choosing maybe a mixed bouquet.”
Johnson’s did order fewer roses this year, only 3,000 stems compared to the 5,000 last year.
Men are walking into Johnson’s and instead of buying a couple dozen roses, they’re only buying a dozen, Garner said. But the important thing is, that people are still buying and getting flowers delivered for the holiday.
The floral shop has 12 people answering phones and working on bouquets for Valentine’s Day.
Ultimately, it’s the thought that counts, said Bri Slater, 21 — she’ll continue to make gifts for people.



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