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Valentine’s Day bustle in Harlem

HOST INTRO: Valentine’s Day is here, and people will be heading out in droves to buy flowers and candy. Today Felice León visits a flower shop in Harlem to witness the Valentine’s mayhem.

It’s Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, and Cupid is flying high. Walk into Harlem Flo, a West Harlem flower shop and you will probably meet co- owner, Stephan Handel.

The phones are constantly ringing and the counters are covered with flowers for lucky lovers.

AMBI: Phone ringing (0:06)

STORE OWNER: Since it’s Friday, a weekday, a lot of it is being delivered to offices, so it has to be there by a certain time. Everybody would love to have it there in the morning, of course, but we can’t do magic quite yet. (0:17)

Today Harlem Flo is a hot-spot. It may not be magic, but it did look like a swanky version of Santa’s workshop, only with flowers.  Five people in the back were packing and arranging, at industrial speeds, as two others took care of customers in the front.

AMBI: Bustle

Randy McLaughlin, who lives in the neighborhood, has just finished placing an order.

MCGLAUGHLIN: It’s a great flower shop, and I am a big fan of supporting local Harlem businesses, so whenever I can, I try to come to these businesses so the money can stay in the community. (00:11)

He believes in community, and so does Kaaryn Simmons, a small business expert at Columbia University.

SIMMONS: That sense of community really does help.

For customer Jimmy Honochick, choosing a flower shop was much less intentional. He was walking his dog and was in need of flowers for his wife.

HONOCHICK: I am a procrastinator.

HONOCHICK: I typed in Google as I was walking here. I was like, I need flowers, and it was the first one to pop-up. So, I hopped over here and it’s a nice flower shop.

Crisis averted, thanks Harlem Flo. Love is most certainly in the air.

Felice León, Columbia Radio News.

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