V-Day extra hours

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COLUMBIA- Florist and Candy Shop employees put in overtime this week in preparation for Valentine's Day Friday.

Most flower shops and candy shops have extended their hours this week for customers to shop for Valentine's gifts.

Ruth LaHue, owner of My Secret Garden, said her employees worked until about 10 p.m. Tuesday night and plan to work until 1 or 2 a.m. Wednesday. She also said some employees plan to spend the night Thursday night for the final Valentine's Day preparations.

Some shops even bring in extra help for the week.

"We have to talk to all of our family and friends and convince them to come and help us out for a couple of days. A lot of people take off work and use vacation time to come in and help us make our chocolate covered strawberries." Mike Atkinson, Candy Factory Co-Owner, said.

Along with the extra hours put in by the stores, many also put in months of preparation.

The Candy Factory does a lot of research for the chocolate covered strawberries they sell during February.

"We check with our strawberry growers in California to make sure the weather is good and the crop is plentiful, we have specific strawberry farmers pick out the one we want," Atkinson said.

For florists they do most of their prepartations in ordering the flower months ahead of time and doing research on the popular color trends for the year.

Both florists and the candy shop said Valentine's Day is bigger this year since it falls on a weekend. Sales, orders, and deliveries have seemed to increase from last year.