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Flower industry battles slow supply chain ahead of Valentine's Day

Supply chain issues on everything from vases to flowers themselves have plagued the industry for the past two years but local retailers prepared early this year.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — It's a busy weekend for couples preparing for Valentine’s Day, and that means flower shops are in high gear.

Thousands of flowers packed a Silver Spring warehouse, Potomac Floral Wholesale, destined for your bouquet on Valentine’s Day, and the line of retailers waiting to stock up on last-minute stems is a sign of a recovery in bloom.

"Support your local retail florist, support your local event planner," said Jeff King, sales team manager at Potomac Floral Wholesale. "Because everybody has been affected by the pandemic but in this industry, I know they need your business, they want your business, and we want you to come back."

King says he’s seeing demand closer to pre-pandemic levels this year. The flowers here will stock more than 400 local stores. 

Florists on Saturday lined up to pick up flowers, waiting until enough people filtered out before more could go in and choose their blooms.

"It is challenging because of the transportation of the flowers getting the flowers on time," said Roya Heydari of Johnson's Flowers.

Inflated shipping costs and supply chain issues on everything from vases to the flowers themselves have plagued the industry for the past two years.

But local retailers prepared early this year, and they’re seeing interest return.

"It's just such a joyful, I don’t even want to say work because I don’t feel like I'm working. It's just I'm doing something I love," Heydari said. "And everybody who is coming around us is feeling the same thing. So we are very optimistic, yes."

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