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May 9, 2021

Gilroy florists meet Valentine’s Day demand

Expressions Floral’s Gilroy facility has been abuzz with activity over the past week, with designers creating Valentine’s Day arrangements and delivery drivers constantly dropping off and loading fresh shipments of flowers.

The business, which is the retail arm of the wholesaler Regional Farms, is neck-deep in roses to fulfill its Valentine’s Day orders.

Lisa Filice, who owns Regional Farms with her husband Michael, said the floral industry is expecting a “huge” Valentine’s Day, despite the Feb. 14 holiday falling on a Sunday this year.

“We’re definitely ready,” said Filice, who sits on the board for the California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers. “You have to anticipate the need.”

Besides Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, a bulk of Expressions Floral’s business comes from weddings, serving about 100 ceremonies during a normal year, according to Filice. But with Covid-19 regulations restricting the wedding industry, Filice said Expressions Floral has adapted over the past year by providing flowers to occasions such as elopements and small weddings.

“We’ve been able to put flowers in homes when so many things have been taken away,” she said. “We can still bring happiness and joy through flowers.”

Gina Horwood of Regional Farms stands inside a cooler full of flower arrangements that are ready to be shipped. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

The business was also recently featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, which Filice said will boost Expressions Floral’s name among future brides.

The pandemic, however, has caused a higher demand for sympathy flowers, as Covid-19 continues to take lives. Filice said that although funerals are restricted under current regulations, she expects the demand to further increase once they are loosened.

“Especially during these times, so many families are struggling with so many deaths and illnesses,” she said. “It’s nice that we can provide sympathy through our flowers. We’re here for happy occasions and for the rougher moments, too.”

Regional Farms has been shipping flowers from local growers across the United States and Canada since 1982. Expressions Floral began in 2008, which has storefronts in Gilroy, at 8880 Muraoka Drive, and Hollister, on 850 San Benito St. It also owns Frank’s Garden Florist in Gilroy.

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Other local floral businesses are also in the midst of one of their busiest times of the year.

Rosies & Posies Florist is currently hosting an outdoor flower market at 8355 Monterey St. in Gilroy. Rachelle Castaneda, owner of Friday Flowers Gilroy, will be the featured guest of The Neon Exchange’s Quarantine Cooking YouTube show on Feb. 13.

Keep those balloons grounded

Pacific Gas & Electric is reminding revelers to be mindful of their Valentine’s Day balloons, which were responsible for cutting the power to more than 25,000 Gilroy customers in 2020.

According to PG&E, Gilroy ranked in the top five Bay Area cities that experienced the most power outages caused by balloons. The metallic coating of the balloons can conduct electricity, which poses a risk to the electric system if the balloons make contact with overhead power lines.

In Gilroy, eight outages caused by balloons in 2020 affected 25,013 customers, according to PG&E. San Jose topped the list of Bay Area cities with 57 outages in 2020 that affected 312,214 customers.

The rise of home celebrations due to the pandemic, as well as drive-by graduation and birthday parades, has exacerbated the issue.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of balloons floating into our power lines and causing outages, and we suspect that there could be a correlation to the pandemic and the advent of creative at-home celebrations,” said Ken Wells, vice president of electric distribution for PG&E.

PG&E advises residents to keep helium-filled balloons grounded with a weight tied to them, and avoid celebrating near overhead electric lines.

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