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Crystal City Florist’s Business Blooms Around Valentine’s Day

Shaheen Hossini likes when Valentine’s Day is in the middle of the week.

When the holiday falls on the weekend or a Monday, her floral arrangements business, Crystal City’s Flowers With Love, scrambles to deliver sometimes hundreds of rose bouquet orders as early in the day as possible. The florists can’t encourage people to have their arrangements delivered a few days in advance, because people won’t be in the office to enjoy them for as long.

But when the holiday is later in the work week, it’s easier for Hossini to encourage customers to have early deliveries.

“A lot of times, people are not expecting the flowers on Monday or Tuesday, because they’re thinking Valentine’s is on Wednesday,” said Hossini, a Springfield, Va., resident. “It gives them an opportunity to enjoy the flowers earlier.”

Flowers With Love only has two full-time employees and a part-time employee, but several seasonal employees are hired each Valentine’s Day just to keep up with the high volume of orders.

Ranard Wood, a seasonal employee and resident of D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood, has been working with flowers for the last 45 or 50 years. He loves arranging flowers, preferably tropical bouquets or hydrangeas, but since retirement he rarely works except for at Hossini’s store around Valentine’s Day.

“She’s the only one who can bring me out to do this, because this is insane this time of year,” said Wood, pointing toward Hossini along the arrangement bar, where slews of Ecuadorian and Colombian roses cover the counter.

In the two or three days leading up to Valentine’s Day, Hossini’s store makes about 10-15% of their annual sales. Mother’s Day and the Christmas season are their next busiest times of year, but Valentine’s Day is another level. That demand leads to higher markup for roses in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, as rose growers stop cutting to prepare for the February 14 onslaught.

The markups can range from an additional 100% per rose to as high as an extra 140%, which leads to higher prices for the florists and, in turn, for the customers. Beginning in early December, the prices shoot up, incrementally raising higher and higher closer to mid-February.

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend two billion dollars on Valentine’s Day flowers in 2018. Total planned Valentine’s Day spending is up nationwide, from $18.2 billion in 2017 to a projected $19.8 billion this year.

“There used to be a time where we would depend on the phones and at a certain point we would turn them off,” Hossini explained. “But now, with internet e-florists, we get so much business from that. We think we’re not that busy but the orders are coming through on the computer.”

“You turn around and there’s 10 orders on the computer and you’re like — ahhh!”

This is the only time of year that Flowers With Love, bought by Hossini in 1998 from the original owner, does a lot of walk-in business. Much of their business comes from party work for the businesses and hotels in Crystal City.

Flowers With Love is one of only a few florists in Arlington, according to Hossini, but having competition from elsewhere in the county is actually a good thing around Valentine’s Day, when there are sometimes just too many orders to fill at the last minute for one store.

“We can only do so much, and everyone wants flowers,” said Hossini.

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Could Be Big Budget Winner — Commercial real estate analysts expect Crystal City and the Dulles Toll Road corridor to be the big winners from the new spending bill that was signed into law last week, boosting domestic and military budgets. Crystal City is also among the Northern Virginia locales under consideration for Amazon’s HQ2. [Bisnow]

Park Police Chief Cancels Meeting with BeyerUpdated at 12:30 p.m. — The chief of the U.S. Park Police cancelled a scheduled meeting yesterday with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Beyer and Norton are seeking answers in the fatal Park Police shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, who fled from a reported crash and then from officers before being shot in Fairfax County. USPP later released a statement explaining the chief’s decision. [WUSA 9, PDF]

Ballston to Hold Puppy Party Tomorrow — “Didn’t feel the love on Valentines Day? Join the Ballston BID for a puppy pick-me-up. All dogs present available for adoption through our partner, Homeward Trails. They bring the furry friends. Earl’s will bring the food.” [Ballston BID]

Charlie Clark on Arlington and Its History — “Clark compared the local population to the cast of the NBC show ‘Parks and Recreation,’ a group of honest, do-gooders who try their best but things still go awry. They’re a body of citizens that aren’t afraid to challenge their local governance on issues, pointing in particular to the struggle put up by local citizens last year when Arlington worked to relocate Fire Station 8.” [Arlington Connection]

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Reservations — Procrastinators rejoice, a number of Arlington restaurants were, at last check, still taking reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner tonight. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Tim Brown

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Drafthouse to Show ‘The Princess Bride’ on Valentine’s Day

Next week the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse will be hosting an alternative to the traditional Valentine’s Day sit-down dinner: stand-up comedy and a showing of “The Princess Bride”

There will be two showings of both on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Doors will first open at 6 p.m., with the stand-up starting at 7 p.m. and the movie beginning at 7:30 p.m. For the second showing, doors will open at 9:30 p.m., the stand-up will start at 9:45 p.m. and the screening will begin at 10:15 p.m.

Tickets are value-priced, according to the Drafthouse’s website.

“Only $10 — inconceivable!” the website says.

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Morning Notes

View of Rosslyn from Courthouse

Norovirus Outbreak at School — More than 80 students at Oakridge Elementary in south Arlington are out sick as a result of a suspected norovirus outbreak. The virus causes symptoms like “stomach aches, fever, vomiting and, in some cases, diarrhea.” [NBC Washington]

Sign Controversy at Yorktown — Some conservatives are upset that teachers at Yorktown High School are being allowed to hang “politically suggestive” signs in their classrooms. The signs read: “Patriots Know: Facts are not political. Diversity strengthens us. Science is real. Women’s rights are human rights. Justice is for all. We’re all immigrants. Kindness is everything.” [Daily Caller]

Yorktown Lacrosse Star Nears 200 Goals — Yorktown senior lacrosse star Laura Crawford is nearing the 200-goal mark for high school career. Crawford, a three-time team MVP, has committed to Penn. [Washington Post]

Female UAE Hockey Player Visits Caps — Fatima Al Ali, a hockey player and coach from United Arab Emirates, has been visiting with the Washington Capitals this week as part of the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone month.” The visit has included taking the ice at the Caps practice facility in Ballston and dropping the puck at last night’s game at Verizon Center. [Fox 5, Al-Arabiya]

Levine, Favola Advance Rape Kit BillUpdated at 9:40 a.m. — Legislation sponsored by Del. Mark Levine and state Sen. Barbara Favola, which Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol helped to craft, has passed unanimously in the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill calls for police to keep rape kits for a longer period of time even if the victim is not ready to prosecute. [WVTF]

MMA Studio Gives Parents a Night Off — A mixed martial arts gym is not a place that one would usually think of as a babysitting venue, but that’s precisely what Pentagon MMA on Columbia Pike will be Saturday night. The business is hosting a “parents’ night out” event for Valentine’s Day, letting mom or dad “enjoy a worry-free evening with your special someone this Valentine’s Day while your child enjoys a night of structured activities in a supervised environment.” [Pentagon MMA]

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Morning Poll: Valentine’s Day Plans

Valentine's Day heart candy by Chris RiefValentine’s Day is only two weeks away.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, V-Day is a day to plan.

For those in relationships, do you stay home and plan a romantic dinner, or go out and pay a premium at a nice restaurant?

For those who are single, do you stay in or join your single friends for a night on the town?

Which are you planning to do on Feb. 14?

Flickr pool photo courtesy Chris Rief

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Dish of the Day: Heart-Shaped Pizza for Your Valentine from Joe’s Place

Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta
5555 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22207
Tel: 703-532-0990

This Valentine’s Day, surprise your special someone with a delicious, romantic heart-shaped pizza from Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta. Dine in and pair it with our delicious Sicilian wines or with our great selection of IPAs. Or have it delivered, free of charge! $13 for a large heart-shaped cheese pizza, $1.80 per additional toppings.

At Joe’s Place, we make all our own authentic Sicilian style pasta dishes, sauces, pizza and desserts with recipes we brought from our hometown of Agrigento, Italy, and through all we’ve learned in this great country.

Since opening the first Joe’s Place in 1978, we’ve earned a reputation for the best pizza in town, along with a warm, friendly atmosphere and strong support for the community. Many of Joe’s staff have been with us for 10, 20, even 30 years. They and our many longtime regular customers truly are like family.

Say “I love you” with a fun, fresh and festive pizza from Joe’s Place!

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Morning Notes

Clarendon Mardi Gras parade (Flickr pool photo by John Williams)

Transit Displays Installed in Crystal City — Real time transit data displays are being installed around Crystal City as part of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway project. The signs display bus arrival data and have text-to-speech capability for the seeing impaired. [Twitter]

Snagajob Has an Office Slide — Ballston-based Snagajob, which recently raised $100 million, has the ultimate piece of startup workspace decor: an office slide. [DC Inno]

Valentines Day Cards for Bus Drivers — Arlington Public Schools students are being encouraged to give their school bus drivers Valentines Day cards this week. [Twitter]

Stratford Anniversary Memories — Participants in the integration of Arlington’s Stratford Junior High School in 1958 recalled memories of the event during an anniversary celebration last week. “None of the four 12-year-olds then realized the national significance of their action,” writes Charlie Clark. “They viewed it like a day job, after which they returned to real friends on the neighborhood playground.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Short Film Shot at Twisted Vines — Local filmmaker Mike Kravinsky has shot a short film called “I’m Your Server” at Twisted Vines on Columbia Pike. [YouTube]

ACFD: Bring Pets Inside — Given this weekend’s bitter cold forecasted temperatures, the Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents to “make sure to bring our four-legged friends inside.” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by John Williams

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Morning Poll: Dating In Arlington Redux

Valentine's Day heart candy by Chris RiefAlmost four years ago, we asked who the dating game in Arlington was more difficult for, men or women.

The question came after Bloomberg News declared that single women faced “long odds” in the D.C. area. By a slim majority — 53 percent to 47 percent — ARLnow.com readers said women had a harder time finding a suitable mate in Arlington.

Today, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, we’re posing the question again. But this time, a bit of additional information: while women are overrepresented in the District — 52.6 percent of the population in D.C. compared to the nationwide average of 50.8 percent — in Arlington women actually only comprise 49.9 percent of the population, according to 2013 census data.

So, if you have first-hand knowledge of the local dating scene, who has it worse, men or women?

Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief

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Drafthouse Offering ‘Princess Bride,’ Wine Tasting for Valentine’s Day

Arlington Drafthouse's Valentine's Day event fllyerIf going to see “50 Shades of Grey” seems like an inconceivable way to spend Valentine’s Day, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse has a throwback movie alternative.

The theater, at 2903 Columbia Pike, is hosting three showings of the 1980s classic film, “The Princess Bride,” at 4:00, 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. Before the 7:00 p.m. show — currently listed as sold out on the Drafthouse’s website — there will be an optional wine tasting and standup comedy performance.

There will also be standup comedy performed before the final showing of the day, at 10:20 p.m.

Tickets for the two remaining shows are $10 each. Considering the 7:00 p.m. show sold out, you might have to fight to the pain to get tickets for the other two showings on Saturday.

Image via Arlington Drafthouse

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Pentagon City Mall Offering Valentine’s Day Giftwrapping

Crowds of shoppers at Pentagon City mall (file photo)For those in the market for Valentine’s Day gifts, who like spending but not wrapping, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City has a holiday promotion for you.

Today through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., the mall will offer free, full-service gift-wrapping, complete with a variety of wrapping paper, ribbons, and red and pink bows.

The only catch: you have to spend more than $250 at any of a handful of pricey stores. Those stores include:

  • Armani Exchange
  • Apple
  • Coach
  • Hugo Boss
  • Kate Spade
  • Michael Kors
  • Microsoft
  • Stuart Weitzman
  • Tourneau
  • Tumi
  • Vince Camuto

Shoppers who want to take advantage of the service are asked to bring proof of purchase to the Guest Services kiosk.

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Flower Delivery Startups Preparing for Valentine’s Day

Wild roses bouquet from Palace Florist in Washington, D.C. (image via Bloompop)Valentine’s Day is among our most divisive holidays, but for a growing flower delivery business, there’s no more important day.

According to the National Retail Federation, 37.8 percent of Americans will buy flowers for Valentine’s Day this year, spending $2.1 billion.

Crystal City-based Bloompop launched in September 2013, and it’s currently gearing up for its second Valentine’s Day this Saturday. The company offers $10 delivery of flower bouquets from $50 to $150 from local florists. To become a Bloompop partner, a florist must have four- or five-star reviews on a combination of online review websites.

Bloompop Founder and CEO Shavanna Miller said Valentine’s Day, along with Mother’s Day, is the biggest day of the year for her company’s florist partners, and they’ve been undergoing weeks of preparations.

“Our Florist Partners are doing the heavy lifting this week,” Miller told ARLnow.com today in an email, “managing huge amounts of floral inventory, adding additional drivers and team members (sometimes two-three times their normal staff), and making sure all of their beautiful floral art work is delivered carefully and on time for Valentine’s.”

Bloompop is offering an “Easy Valentine’s” service this year, allowing customers to pick the price, color and whether their Valentine hates or loves roses — “the biggest Valentine’s Day fault line,” Miller said. In any ZIP code in the country, a bouquet will be arranged and delivered by a local florist, based on the customer’s specifications.

Valentine’s Day gifts are frequently more than just flowers, however. Bloompop is also offering pairings of flowers and jewelry from D.C.-based startup Stylecable.

Whereas Bloompop specializes in variety and creative partnerships, D.C.-based UrbanStems prides itself in simplicity. The company, which also delivers to Arlington, offers three types of bouquets for $35, $45 and $55, also selling chocolates and a floral-patterned bowtie. Bloompop partners with local florists, while UrbanStems sources its flowers directly from South America.

Urban Stems was launched just before Valentine’s Day last year, delivering its products through last year’s snowstorm. This year, the weather outlook doesn’t look great, but it’s not quite as bleak as last year. No matter the weather, the pair of D.C.-area flower startups knows this holiday is too important to take a snow day.

Image via Bloompop

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Morning Notes

Snow covers Arlington, Feb. 13, 2014

Work to Begin Soon on Bergmann’s Development — Developer McCaffery Interests is planning to begin demolition work soon on the former Bergmann’s dry cleaning plant, at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Vietch Street. Workers could be seen surveying the building last week. On the site, McCaffrey will build a mixed-use development now called “Verde Pointe.” The project, which was approved in 2012, includes 177 apartments, 23 townhomes and a 14,000 square foot MOM’s Organic Market grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]

Opower Files for IPOCourthouse-based energy efficiency company Opower has filed for an initial public stock offering. The company has nearly 500 employees across 5 offices worldwide. It was founded in 2007. President Obama visited the company’s Courthouse headquarters in 2010. [Wall Street Journal]

Bar to Host ‘Condoms and Candy Necklace Party’ — In honor of Valentine’s Day, Wilson Tavern in Courthouse (2403 Wilson Blvd) will be hosting a “Condoms & Candy Necklace Party” tomorrow (Friday) from 8:00 p.m. to close. [Clarendon Nights]

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Fact: Red Wine Tastes Better Than Red Roses

This post is sponsored by Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop (2727 Wilson Blvd)

Roses are nice, but wouldn’t your sweetheart prefer something tastier than flowers for Valentine’s Day?

Your loved one will be the talk of the office when you surprise him or her with the gifts that keep on giving — wine and chocolate!

Clarendon wine and gift store Grateful Red has an easy-to-use website where you can build your own custom wine gift basket, or select from several pre-made gift baskets that are more affordable than a dozen roses.

We will happily deliver any basket purchased between now and midnight Thursday anywhere in Virginia within 25 miles of our shop on Valentine’s Day — home, office or otherwise.

We also have great beer baskets for the beer lover in your life. Choose from several beautiful pre-made baskets or build your own custom basket on our aforementioned website — just pick a gift basket or tin and fill it up with wine, beer, cheese, chocolate and other fun accessories.

Or, if you want to indulge your guy or gal with the ultimate “Beer Mine” present, why not purchase a beers of the month membership? Beers of the Month Club memberships are available in 3-month, 6-month or 1-year subscriptions. Applications for beer club can be found here.

ARLnow readers ordering online can save 10% on any gift basket from now until the end of February by using the code ARLnow10.

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Street Closures for ‘Love the Run You’re With 5K’

Love the Run You're With logoSeveral streets in and around Pentagon City will be closed Sunday (Feb. 10) for the Love the Run You’re With 5K race.

The race starts and ends in front of the Pentagon Row shopping area on S. Joyce Street. According to the Arlington County Police Department, S. Joyce Street will be closed between 15th Street S. and Army Navy Drive from 07:30 to 10:30 a.m., and Army Navy Drive will be closed between S. Joyce Street and 25th Street S. from 8:45 to 10:00 a.m.

“Street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary ‘No Parking’ signs,” the police department said in a press release. “Race attendees are encouraged to use Metro, however, if driving please utilize the parking garage at the Pentagon City mall.”

Individual registration is still open for the race, which is organized by Pacers. The Valentine’s Day-themed race caters to both couples and singles. Participants are given different colored race bibs depending on whether their relationship status is “single,” “in a relationship” or “it’s complicated.”

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Valentine’s Day Celebration Ideas

Valentine's Day chocolatesWith a little more than a week until Valentine’s Day (February 14), now is a good time to make some plans so all the good reservations aren’t taken. Many restaurants offer special menus for the big day, but there are plenty of other options for celebrating in Arlington besides going out to dinner.

Here is a sampling of some of the more unique ways to treat your Valentine:

      • Sip on a special cocktail at TNT Bar‘s (2413 Columbia Pike) “My Bloody Valentine” event, featuring cocktails inspired by “terrible horror movies.” Drinks such as the “Candyman 1992” and “Love Object 2003” can be purchased individually or as part of a tasting menu for two.
      • Put on your skates and hold hands while taking a few laps around the ice skating rink at Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street). The rink is open until 10:00 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
      • Pacers is spreading the love a little early, with the Love the Run You’re With 5K on Sunday (February 10). Runners will receive colored bibs based on their relationship status — green for single, red for in a relationship and yellow for “it’s complicated.” The race begins at 9:00 a.m. at Pentagon Row and costs $40. Registration is available online.
      • Valentine’s Day isn’t just for adults. Teens are invited to take part in the Broken Hearts Party at the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on February 14. The celebration of love, affection and loss will include decorating broken heart cookies, playing trivia games, listening to music and rating which tear-jerker books require the most tissues. The free event runs from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
      • Hire a singing telegram from Potomac Harmony Chorus. A women’s quartet will sing two songs for your loved one and present him or her with a card and box of candy. Pricing is available online. All orders must be placed by this Friday, February 8.
      • The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is serving up wine, comedy and two showings of The Princess Bride. For $8, customers can take in a stand-up comedy show followed by a viewing of The Princess Bride. Tickets are available online for both the 7:00 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. events. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for an optional wine tasting.
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