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Businesses pivot for a pandemic Valentine's Day boost

Flower shops, candy stores and restaurants are finding ways to ensure the holiday of love is beneficial for everyone involved.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Valentine's Day is all about spending time with the people we care about — but for businesses, it also means a big boost.

For shops that have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the holiday is a saving grace.

When most people think of Valentine's Day, they think of flowers, chocolates and a nice dinner. For businesses that sell those love-centered items, they're glad it does.

Florist Jennifer Baldwin at the Tilted Tulip in Jefferson City knows her business is blooming leading up to the big day.

"We're slowly getting back up there, but it's taking the big holidays to help," Baldwin said. “Valentine's holiday will help carry me over to hopefully Mother's Day.”

Credit: The Tilted Tulip

She's getting more bouquets ready now than she has during the whole pandemic.

"Normally when it falls on a Sunday, it's not usually a good holiday for florists. But the experts predicted with it being the coronavirus, the pandemic, that people weren't allowed to go out to eat like they would, so it's supposed to be busier than normal," Baldwin explained.

RELATED: Local floral shops prep ahead of Valentine's Day

The National Retail Federation predicts people will spend less money on Valentine's Day in 2021 than in years past. 

The owner of The Plaid Apron restaurant in West Knoxville, Drew McDonald, claims it has a lot to do with the day of the week it falls on. He's switching up his business model to accommodate it.

For New Years', the local eatery held a special indoor, socially-distanced event and served up five courses to customers.

"We decided to do the curbside mainly because with it being on a Sunday, we can't afford to not do brunch during the restaurant, and it would be a very long shift for my employees," McDonald explained.

Credit: The Plaid Apron

Offering a curbside three-course meal experience allows the staff to feed more people, both at home and in-person.

As of Thursday, all the slots for curbside were filled.

"We can't stop," McDonald said. "We've got to keep on trucking. We just ask that you don't forget about us across the board."

Whether it's flowers or food, both owners say supporting local businesses is a way to ensure you're spreading the love.