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Florists urge early Valentine's Day orders amid flower shortages

 Barkev Abadjian and his family are busy preparing for Valentine's Day amid pandemic labor shortage and supply chain issues
Angel Russell
Barkev Abadjian and his family are busy preparing for Valentine's Day amid supply chain issues and the pandemic labor shortage.

Valentine's Day is coming up, but the flowers you may be planning to get a loved one may be pricier and harder to find due to supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic.

Barkev Abadjian, the owner of Albert's Florist in San Luis Obispo, is busy preparing floral arrangements and taking orders for Valentine's day.

He said every year this Holiday is a challenge.

"I think this is our 42nd year, if I’m not mistaken,” Abadjian said.

But in all 42 years of preparing for the Holiday of love, Abadjian said the supply chain issue is making this year the toughest he’s faced as a business owner. He also doesn’t have his usual amount of delivery drivers due to the labor shortage.

"We are very short handed, and there are less supplies that we can get, usually," Abadjian said. "The situation — it’s really hard for everybody, including us.”

Due to the pandemic-related problems, Abadjian said some flowers may be pricier and others may not come in on time.

For products where timing is everything, he said the crunch feels especially intense. Abadjian said he hopes he has enough flowers on his shelf for the big day, since many people wait until the last minute.

"Men usually are [last minute shopping]," Abadjian said. "Unfortunately, they want delivery yesterday if they can — last minute!”

Abadjian is warning people that this is not the year to wait until the last minute to get flowers.

"If somebody wants flowers, order as soon as possible," Abadjian said. "Because we have very limited manpower and we are going to do everything we can to deliver every last order.”

While some flowers may be more expensive and you may not get the exact arrangement you wanted, he said even one flower can make a difference.

"I deliver sometimes myself," Abadjian said. "And it’s so fun to see people just beaming. They are so happy, to get one flower even.”

Abadjian said call him or your local florists ahead of time and they’ll help pick out a flower arrangement with a price tag that won't make your heart skip a beat.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.