Snow isn't making things easy for florists' big day

By Gary Liberatore

(WKTV) - Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year for florists. They spend days preparing delivery routes for their drivers, and when a snowstorm shuts down schools and businesses, it makes for a lot of changes -- and a really hectic day. 

Just ask Bill Waszkiewicz, owner of Chester's Flowers in Utica.

"Since it's tough to get around, and now people aren't at work and some of the schools are closed and everyone's calling trying to change addresses, it's complicated," he said.

Waszkiewicz says It took a little longer than normal to get his 15 drivers out the door with their first deliveries of the day Friday morning, but in the end, he says all flowers will be delivered to their correct locations, whether that be the original destination requested, or a new one because of the weather.

Some of the drivers for Chester's are actually volunteers.  They just love to see the smiles on people's faces when they get their flowers, and they say Waszkiewicz is such a nice guy, they like to help him out on such a busy day.

One of those volunteers is retired New York State Trooper Jim Simpson of New Hartford, who says he gets a totally different response from people when they open their doors and see him with flowers rather than a badge.

"Yeah, it's a different reception," he said.  "It's a lot of fun.  People greet you with a smile, and that's not what I was used to."

Waszkiewicz says it takes days to plan routes for his drivers and the extra chaos on such a busy day makes it that much more exciting for he and his staff.

"We kind of organized ahead of time and we make all our plans and we have everything ready," he said. "Drivers can do their jobs. It's a little more complicated now."

It's a day Waskiewicz says is busy, but different each year.

Meanwhile, some customers, such as Adrian Liggins of Utica, would rather pick up his flowers and deliver them to his loved ones personally.

"These flowers are going to my mother, a teddy bear for my daughter," he said. "I got a couple more items in there for my girlfriend."

Liggins says he never has any worries about deliveries getting to their right destination, because he likes to do it himself.

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