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After tough year, small WNY businesses see Valentine's Day boost

Whether it's flowers or candy, local shops tell 2 On Your Side they'll be busy this weekend and are thankful for the extra business.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In any given year, Valentine's Day gives a supportive boost for small businesses like local flower shops and candy shops.

However, this year it's different. Valentine's Day is coming at a time when these small businesses need financial support most.

Elaine's Flower Shoppe has two locations in Depew and Amherst, and the shop just celebrated 40 years of business on February 2. 

However, the owners said the year leading up to the big anniversary was trying. The flower shop relied on only curbside and delivery orders for months. 

"This past year has been a little tough. My partner and I had to overcome a lot of things. It was sad when we had to lay some of our employees off, that's always tough to do, but we had to do it," Elaine's Flower Shoppe co-owner Dale McCormick said.

McCormick said they are thankful for the Valentine's Day rush. He said they are expecting to prepare more than 500 orders this weekend.

Many people would think that shoppers would be spending less money due to the coronavirus pandemic, but McCormick said it's the opposite.

"People are still buying the same amount, even a little more, going with the extras, bears and balloons," he said.

McCormick also said people are not just buying flowers for a spouse or significant other, but family members are ordering them for people they may have not seen in awhile.

Typically, the majority of floral deliveries are made to offices and schools, but with many people working from home, McCormick said there are more home deliveries this year compared to year's past.

Laura Tassy, is the manager of Alethea's Chocolates on Main Street in Clarence. She said the chocolate shop will be filling hundreds of orders this weekend, many for their popular sponge candy and truffles.

"We make all of our truffles as fresh as they can be and as you can see its the week of Valentine's Day and we are still in production making fresh truffles," Tassy said.

Like many small businesses, Tassy said relying on curbside pick up was tough but added that they are thankful for the amount of community support they received during those months.

"As soon as we were able to open up with some social distance, we've had people come in, and it's been awesome, business has been great. I think people are staying home and they like to treat themselves," she said.