Some people go above and beyond in life and love.
Ahead of Valentine’s Day, we reached out to regional florists, candy makers, jewelers and dance instructors to hear how Capital Region residents have been celebrating the holiday in earnest.
Going the distance
At first, Bill Nelson thought the Valentine's Day order was a fake — someone wanted 100 red roses in a single vase.
"It came in at 3 in the afternoon," said Nelson, who along with his wife, Vicky, owns Bloomfield's Florist in Amsterdam. "I spent over an hour verifying it."
The request in 2016 came over an 800 phone line devoted to floral business and had originated in the Far East. The roses were to be delivered to a visitor from overseas; the young woman had enrolled at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and was staying at the Microtel Inn and Suites in Johnstown.
Nelson said his largest Valentine's Day orders had been around four dozen roses. One hundred roses would be eight dozen, with four extras.
The flowers all fit into a large vase, and Nelson used a dolly to roll the big bunch from his delivery truck to the hotel. From there, he used a bellhop's cart to transport the flowers to their new owner. The roses were delivered with a note, typed in a foreign language.
Nelson said the 100-rose order — which cost $600 — did not present any problem. He is always well stocked for Feb. 14.
"If you run out on Valentine's Day, you didn't buy enough," he said.
Nelson never got to see how the woman reacted to the massive display of crimson petals.
"She was in class," he said. "The manager had to come down and open the door, and we put the roses in the room."
“Years ago, we had a guy who came in on Valentine’s Day and bought a diamond heart necklace,” said Jon Sosnowski of Mayfair Jewelers in Glenville.
Then he came back in the following Valentine’s Day and bought the same thing. And then again the following year.
“There’s a lot of styles, but there’s a classic look,” Sosnowski said.
Apparently, the classic style really caught the customer’s eye because he gifted it three years in a row.
“His wife came [after] the second and third times to switch it out,” Sosnowski said.
It worked out well for her because she got to purchase something she really wanted, but everyone got a kick out of it said Sosnowski.
Not all blind dates are bad
For one Saratoga County man, one blind date went so well he’s been honoring the date for the past six decades.
“This will be their 68th Valentine's Day,” said J. Vogt, manager of Garden Gate Florists in Clifton Park.
Nearly every year around Valentine’s Day, the husband comes into Garden Gate Florists in Clifton Park for the same order: a bouquet of red roses.
He met his wife on a blind date and gave her a red rose. It’s become a tradition ever since.
“Every year he gets his wife rose[s],” Vogt said, “This year, he’s getting her 68.”
The bundle of roses is too large for a typical vase so instead, they’ll be in a grapevine basket, with a note saying “Love, your blind date.”
Vogt said the order is so large that she and her team of florists have to think about how they can get the bouquet through doorways and into the delivery cars.
Dance your heart out
“Sometimes people bring a date for a surprise lesson [on Valentine's Day]. People bring their wife or their girlfriend and have a great time together,” said Sasha Spitchka, the owner of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Latham.
Spitchka, who opened the Fred Astaire Dance Studio as a franchisee 19 years ago, said her business attracts all kinds of people – some who are serious about learning how to dance, and others who are just looking for some fast fun.
And sometimes people come in for a different sort of Valentine’s date.
“You can show up just once or come for a bunch of lessons,” she said. “We have a different variety of lessons that we offer. Our youngest students are 15 and we have them as old as 75.”
Rose after rose after rose
For Valentine’s Day in 2015, one gentleman wanted to go all out for his wife.
It started out as a regular order for Frank Gallo, the owner of Frank Gallo Florists. The customer wanted a dozen red roses delivered to his wife’s office on Valentine’s Day.
But then he made that same order eight times.
“[He wanted] a dozen red roses delivered to his wife at her office every hour of the workday,” Gallo said.
Gallo and his team of florists delivered a dozen roses at 9 a.m., came back at 10 a.m. to deliver another bouquet, and every hour until 5 p.m. It was an enormous order, not only for Gallo’s but for the customer’s wife.
“She was certainly overwhelmed,” said Gallo, “It was a big hit in her office.”