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Local shops navigate Valentine’s Day supply chain woes

JERICHO, Vt. (WCAX) – Small businesses are working hard to get you your Valentine’s Day goodies, but supply chain issues could leave some people broken-hearted.

Snowflake Chocolates in Jericho smells like Valentine’s Day, with the staff creating and selling the holiday mainstay. “Since Christmas 2019, it’s almost like Christmas never ended — it’s been going crazy,” said Betsy Soutier, who runs the business along with her sister, Sharon Wintersteen. She says COVID’s supply chain problems have been a hurdle that only get exacerbated during the major chocolate holidays. “I have packaging I get from Rhode Island that normally takes three weeks to come to us and it’s taking 26 weeks.”

On top of packaging delays, the sisters say a Valentine’s Day staple, the heart-shaped box, has increased in price by about 55% since last year. “They’re expensive boxes to begin with, so it’s just making the product more expensive,” Soutier said.

“The last thing we want to do is have you walk through our doors and be shocked by pricing, because that’s not who we are,” Wintersteen said.

In Burlington, Kathy & Co Flowers staff have the day off before the big rush. Owner A.J. Koster says the flower industry is also navigating supply issues. “We’ve seen a couple of higher-end flowers go up in price so we can’t use them,” Koster said. As for glass vases, the store says they ordered a bunch last year and they still receive delayed shipments now. “There’s been supply chain issues coming from China so a lot of florists have been stocking up last year for V day this year.”

Because people often buy their flowers pretty last minute, and because the Super Bowl is the day before Valentine’s Day, Koster says they’re not expecting too much traffic until the holiday itself, so they’re preparing for an even busier holiday than normal.”

Both shops say shopping local and shopping small is more important now than ever. “Hey, you know, its tough right now, so just eat chocolate,” Wintersteen said

“We’re feeling very pumped, very prepared,” added Koster.

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