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White Plains Flower Shops Bloom on Valentine's Day

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Gary Lucas said he has been "delivering love" from his Westchester Floral Designs shop from the Bronx line to Brewster this Valentine's Day.

"We're up almost 50 percent from last year. It's a tremendous increase. I don't like to stand around it's nice to be busy," Lucas said of the 182 deliveries his Mamaroneck Avenue shop had racked up by noon Tuesday.

Lucas credits the last minute nature of men for keeping his store bustling around Feb. 14. His staff left his shop at midnight Monday, arrived at 5 a.m. Tuesday, and plan to stay until midnight again.

"My wife has been married to a florist for 37 years. So nope, we don't do much. Every day is Valentine's Day for us," said Lucas.

A few blocks down, Cherie Donna Barnette assembled floral arrangements on Blossom Flower's second busiest day of the year.

"The biggest is Mother's Day predominately because everyone has a mother, godmother, an aunt who's a mother, what have you. Valentine's Day is a one-day madhouse though," said Barnette, a Dutchess county resident.

Although Barnette said working Valentine's Day is fun, she said she wished women would learn to "expand the flavor of flowers" she works with and not just covet roses.

"Roses have to be peeled like leather," she says while removing the exterior petals and thorns for rose bouquets. "It's not necessarily easy work. Look at all the cuts from thorns."

Barnette likes to celebrate the holiday with those she loves and says she's happy she can "thank Hallmark for that."

Although, Lee Absolu agreed that the holiday emerged from a consumer culture, he said he viewed honoring his wife as "invaluable."

"What I'm doing now is getting a card and sending some flowers to her job. It's just about spending time with family," said Absolu, 37, of White Plains, while picking out a bouquet with his daughter.

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