It’s been a tough year for many merchants, but candy, cookie and flower sales are going strong this week at local stores that cater to Valentine’s Day shoppers.
Valentine’s Day is the busiest season of the year for Umpqua Sweets & Treats, and pandemic notwithstanding, that’s true again this year, said owner Cody Dolan.
The store did a brisk business in pre-orders for specialty items like chocolate covered strawberries, but many customers wait until the last few days to shop for the holiday.
That’s probably because Valentine’s Day candy shoppers are mostly men, Dolan said.
He said Thursday he was expecting many customers to come in Friday and Saturday with the “whole deer in the headlights look.”
The top seller so far this season has been a dark chocolate caramel cheesecake truffle. Other truffle options include blackberry hazelnut, cherry cheesecake, strawberry rhubarb and coffee.
“Every holiday’s a little bit different. Some are more fudge oriented, some are more grab and go like salted caramels. But Valentine’s is definitely a truffle holiday,” Dolan said. “That’s kind of our primary focus.”
Each truffle is filled with ganache — a soft, silky, rich blend of cream, chocolate and another flavor — that’s dipped in either milk or dark chocolate and decorated.
The store is located at 1016 SE Oak Ave.
Valentine’s Day shoppers looking for a different type of sweet treat also have the option of Kim’s Cupcakery. The bakery sells cookies and cupcakes made by Kim Miller, an autistic woman with a flair for art.
Kim’s mother, Eileen Miller, said the bakery’s biggest seller this time of year is sugar cookies uniquely decorated as unicorns, lips and rainbow hearts.
“People can’t seem to get enough of them,” Miller said.
The bakery produced about 46 dozen of them.
Another popular item is cherry cupcakes.
“People want the pretty pink with a cherry on top,” she said.
Some Valentine’s Day cupcakes also have little love-bug decorations with little critters that resemble caterpillars, who are holding conversation hearts with messages like “Be Mine.”
The bakery is expected to be open Saturday until everything sells.
As with Umpqua Sweets & Treats, Valentine’s Day is one of the bakery’s biggest days of the year. The bakery also has a lot of customers at Christmastime.
During the pandemic, Kim’s Cupcakery has gone to serving customers at a walk-up window rather than inside the store.
The Miller family opened the bakery at 1157 NE Stephens St. in Roseburg in 2018 as a business that would allow Kim Miller to follow her passion for art.
Kim Miller was restless. Autistic and extremely talented, she’d been to college and received stellar grades, but it wasn’t a good fit, Eileen Miller said.
“She had no desire in her heart as far as what she wants to do, couldn’t narrow it down. And so I said OK we’re going to bake,” she said.
Kim Miller loved it.
“Everything to Kim is art, and so she was just making these masterpieces,” Eileen Miller said.
The sugar cookie recipe came from Eileen Miller’s grandmother Grace Hesedahl, who lived on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota and married a “cowpoke,” she said.
“I hear it’s kind of like an old-fashioned farmhouse recipe,” she said.
The business was never intended to be a big moneymaker.
“If we keep our head above water and keep Kim decorating and keep Kim with a job, we are happy,” she said.
Valentine’s Day is the second-biggest holiday of the year for Barb’s Flowers. (Mother’s Day is the biggest.)
Owner Barbara Hagedorn said the top seller is Valentine’s Day mixed arrangements of lilies, mums and roses in mixtures of colors like lavender, white, red and pink.
The biggest flower shoppers this time of year are men, she said.
“Guys mostly, when they call, they’re like I don’t know what to order, just do something up really nice. And I’m like OK that’s our specialty. We can do that for you,” she said.
The shop is located at 1440 NW Valley View Drive in Roseburg.
Hagedorn said she expects a lot of walk-in flower shoppers on Saturday and she’ll also be open Sunday until 4 p.m.
With the pandemic, many more people are ordering flowers to be delivered than in previous years, she said.
Quite a few deliveries were already out on Thursday, and she said the store will be running three delivery vans over the weekend.
“It gets kinda crazy. It is fun. It’s a lot of fun,” she said.