You’ll pay for that bouquet

Sara Sanchez picks a bunch of Navelino gerbera daisies at Skyline Flower Growers in Nipomo.
Sara Sanchez picks a bunch of Navelino gerbera daisies at Skyline Flower Growers in Nipomo.

The days leading up to Valentine’s Day are some of the busiest of the year for many local retailers. Joe Goldberg, president and CEO of Skyline Flower Growers in Nipomo, is ramping up operations at all of his production centers.

The company grows flowers inside of more than 3 million square feet of greenhouses in Nipomo and Oxnard that cover more than 120 acres of land.

Skyline Flower Growers also has distribution centers in Seattle and Spokane, Wash.

Employees at the flower company began preparing for the holiday months ago.

“February through June is our Christmas season,” Goldberg said. “We expect to sell more than 150,000 bunches of flowers by the time the holiday gets here.”

Skyline sells a variety of flowers to wholesale florists, local retail florists and at farmers markets throughout San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

It has 75 employees locally. In preparation for the Valentine’s Day holiday, the crew at Skyline increases production on all types of flowers, especially lilies and snapdragons.

“We get a lot of orders for everything during the holidays. By the time February 14th comes around, we’re usually picked pretty clean,” Goldberg said.

During the Valentine’s Day season, the price of flowers goes up drastically. On average, a dozen long-stemmed roses can cost $75, or about 30 percent more than the normal price of $58, according to the National Retail Federation.

“People get sticker shock on the prices, but that’s what it takes to be able to have flowers this time of the year,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg added there’s good reason for the uptick in price.

“Valentine’s Day falls in the wintertime, and there aren’t as many flowers available. It also costs more to grow flowers during the colder months,” Goldberg said. “During the winter, we have heating bills that are $50,000 a month.”

Comparatively, flowers tend to be much more plentiful and less expensive in the spring, just in time for Mother’s Day.