Be Local with Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

Dave McFarland, owner of Mmm Popcorn in Wheeling, scoops up chocolate-covered strawberry popcorn that his store is selling for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is here, but there’s still time left for love birds looking to buy a last-minute gift for their significant other.

Whether it’s chocolates, treats or a wine tasting, Be Local if you’re looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

While most people consider roses the perfect flower to give on Valentine’s Day, Krista Kinney, who owns Bud’s Bloomers at 126 W. Main St. in St. Clairsville, said her customers are looking for more mixed arrangements than the traditional bouquet.

“People are mixing it up a little different this year (buying) flower arrangements with roses mixed in,” Kinney said.

Thursday was especially busy, with more customers expected to come in today to get fresh flowers, she said.

“It’s good, but it’s very busy,” she said.

That’s why it’s important for people looking to buy those last-minute arrangements to come in person to the florist so they can pick out the flowers they want, rather than just ordering online and having it delivered.

“Come in and pick them up to guarantee what you’re looking for,” Kinney said. “Pick them up and pick them yourself. That way they’re exactly what you’re looking for.”

But not everyone is interested in flowers.

Some people may be into an interactive experience, so Good Mansion Wines at 95 14th St. in Wheeling is offering a wine tasting at 6 p.m. today. No RSVP is required for walk-in customers and the nominal ticket fee can be paid at the door.

The tasting includes a variety of Good Mansion’s wines that are perfect for Valentine’s Day, along with soft cheeses, breads and chocolate to cleanse the palate.

Workers there are expecting a big day, and also have Valentine’s Day themed gifts, desserts and flowers to go along with wines.

But if you’re looking for something a little sweeter, maybe chocolate covered popcorn will hit the spot.

Dave McFarland, owner of Mmm Popcorn at 1057 Market St. in Wheeling, said the chocolate-covered strawberry popcorn has been his store’s biggest seller leading up to Valentine’s Day, followed closely by the caramel covered popcorn called the buckeye.

He said Valentine’s Day is a nice boost for his business during the winter months as it brings in more customer traffic than usual in February. They also sell personal sizes and treat bags that can make for a great gift to give to friends or co-workers.

“We’re doing a little better than usual,” he said. “It’s a nice holiday in the middle of February when the weather is bad and not as many people are wandering in.”

For now, McFarland is working hard to get more popcorn out this week.

“We’ll make a little more than usual,” he said.

Whitney Stemkowski, owner of Fat Apples located downstairs of the Skyliner Building at 225 Main St. in Bridgeport, has a variety of chocolate, baked goods, nostalgic candies and, of course, gourmet apples. Stemkowski said it’s been a “great week” with strawberry desserts being one of their biggest sellers. She said anyone who needs last-minute gifts can find pretty much anything to appease their sweet tooth.

“We have a lot of orders to go out, but we’re always open to taking more. We’re not going to cut anyone off,” Stemkowski said. “You can just walk in and walk right out. We’ll have stuff already made.

“You name it, we got it,” she added.


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