Economy affects local businesses' Valentine's Day sales

Sunday, February 13, 2011 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:28 p.m. CST, Sunday, February 13, 2011
Chandra Oleksiewicz browses for Valentine's Day gifts for her children on Saturday at My Secret Garden, located downtown on Broadway.

COLUMBIA — The combination of Valentine's Day and the recent economic upturn has had a positive impact on some Columbia businesses, while others have seen less of an effect.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, customers are spending more on their loved ones this year, causing local businesses to see an increase in sales.


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“Business has been busier than the past couple years, but it’s very last-minute,” said David Rubenstein, L.C. Betz Associates Jewelers store manager.

Rubenstein said the store's average ticket sales have increased this Valentine’s Day season compared with past years.

The D & D Cafe, which opened in May at 22 N. Ninth St., is attempting to ride the wave of the improving economy as well.

Owner Dawn Thompson said she has been making chocolate-covered strawberries since 2003.

In the past, her main sources of advertising were the Add Sheet and word of mouth, but this year she is selling her strawberries both at her cafe and at My Secret Garden, she said.

Thompson said that sales have been slow so far, but she hopes that customers will purchase about 40 dozen strawberries.

My Secret Garden owner Ruth LaHue said that she has not necessarily felt the effect of the recession over the past three years.

“We gauge our business on the day of the week that Valentine’s Day falls on,” LaHue said. “For Valentine’s Day, the economy has never really affected us too much. People always want to share their love.”

Over the past three years, Valentine’s Day has fallen on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. LaHue said her records show that her sales being down had more to do with the day of the week than it did with the economy.

LaHue also said she has concentrated on offering arrangements at a wide range of prices for her customers.

“We specifically designed a small feature design,” LaHue said. “It’s a beautiful little presentation for a student or maybe somebody who doesn’t have enough money.”

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Stephen Boyd February 13, 2011 | 10:08 a.m.

"Effects" is a noun. "Affects" is the verb that should have been used in this headline.

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