Pink and red streamers hang from the ceiling of Pots of Luck Florist on Church Street in Concord where florists maneuver through buckets of countless roses and rolls of ribbon line the walls of the shop's basement workspace.
"We're preparing for war here," said owner Rick McClamrock.
Local florists will be working long hours this week to battle the onslaught of Valentine's Day orders, many of which have yet to be placed.
"It'll be a madhouse," said Cheree McDaniel, a manager and floral designer at Pots of Luck Florist. "We'll have them lined up out the door."
Although they've been getting orders since January, designers at Harrisburg Florist on N.C. 49 expect to get the bulk of their floral requests today through Saturday.
"Men always wait till the last minute," said Lori Smith, Harrisburg Florist's wedding specialist.
But McClamrock defended the male population.
"A lot of men are busy, and they just don't think like women," he said.
But ordering the flowers is only half the battle. Then comes the card that accompanies the bouquets.
"Some men take their cards very seriously," said Cynthia Byrum, office manager and floral designer at Harrisburg Florist.
Byrum laughed as she recalled how one man compared his beloved's skin to a peach, her lips to cherries and her eyes to blueberries.
"He went through this whole fruit thing," she said, laughing.
Others just can't find the words.
"Sometimes they want us to write them," Byrum said, describing how they often have to search for romantic phrases.
Some keep it short and sweet. Byrum recalled one man who simply wrote, "You rock my world."
"I just thought that was the sweetest thing," she said. "That's something I'd want somebody to say to me."
Local florists said they've been hit by the sluggish economy - but not at Valentine's Day.
"People can't eat flowers, but they do make you feel better," Smith said.
And regardless of the state of people's finances, some men know they have to buy flowers. Otherwise, they'll face the wrath of disappointed wives, Smith added, smiling.
Harrisburg Florist was scheduled to receive 2,000 roses earlier this week for Valentine's Day arrangements. The shop brought in extra help to handle all the orders.
McClamrock said his shop, which has taken on more weddings to help compensate for the poor economy, expects to sell nearly 5,000 roses this Valentine's Day.
Both florist shops said they'll be busy delivering flowers to women's workplaces Thursday and Friday. Although the holiday falls on a Sunday this year, having flowers at work is a must for some women.
"If they don't get them at work, some women aren't happy," Byrum said.
And it's not unusual for the shop to receive orders for flowers after Valentine's Day, she said. They're from men looking to make amends for their Valentine's Day blunders.
McClamrock found out firsthand just how special flowers are while delivering an arrangement at a business where a group of women were working together. He read one of their name tags and called out her name to ask where he could find the recipient of the flowers. But she misunderstood, assuming someone had sent her the blossoms.
"The woman started hyperventilating she was so excited," he said. "I felt like a dog."
He felt so terrible, he came back later that day with a dozen roses for her.
"It's a serious business," McClamrock said. "It's an emotional thing."
Despite the hectic schedule they'll run this week, the florists admit they enjoy the romance.
McClamrock recalled the engagement ring he delivered tied to a bouquet of flowers, and the man who wanted to fill his girlfriend's house with flowers - no matter the cost - to set the scene for his proposal.
Byrum described a Concord man who adds a rose to a bouquet of red sweetheart roses for his wife - his high school sweetheart - for their anniversary every year. Last year he ordered 53 roses for 53 years of marriage.
McDaniel said she's received calls from soldiers in Iraq who want flowers sent to their wives on Valentine's Day.
"That'll just make you cry," she said.
But by the time Valentine's Day arrives, McDaniel said she'll be sick of flowers.
"My husband better not send me flowers," she said, laughing as she assembled an arrangement last week. "I'll kill him. I see enough of them."
But Byrum and Smith disagreed. They'd like to receive flowers from a special someone. It's all about the romance, they said.
"It's about capturing the moment," McClamrock said. "It's a day for flowers."