Boxes of chocolate wrapped in heart covered paper and vases overflowing with brightly colored flowers are a sure sign that Valentine's Day is just around the corner.
Owners of local stores that sell these and other staples of the day of love are prepared for the crowds that are sure to pour through their doors in the coming days.
"It is the busiest single day of the year but it's not the busiest time of the year," explained Joe Flaherty, owner of Sandy's Florist, located in Marietta, Belpre and Barlow. "Mother's Day is busier than Valentine's Day but Mother's Day lasts for a longer period of time."
Flaherty added that red roses are most frequently ordered on Valentine's Day, although some folks prefer roses of other colors, or mixed arrangements.
"Valentine's flowers range anywhere from probably $30 up to $150, depending on what type of flowers they want to do and what quantities they want to do," Flaherty said. "We ask that they order in advance, that way they can get their deliveries made earlier in the day, but we do take orders the day of, also."
He noted that a 10 percent discount is applied to orders placed before Feb. 7.
Just By Chance Barbershop Quartet: performing Feb. 13 and 14; $35 for two or three love songs, plus a fresh rose; e-mail Lew Yeager at email@example.com to book.
Uptown Sound Sweet Adelines Quartet (left) : performing Feb. 12, 13 and 14; $25 for a song, gift and card; $15 for a song to be sung over the phone; call Rachel Fankhauser at 236-8329 to book.
Heart themed kitchenware.
Gourmet goodies basket.
For those who want to satisfy the sweet tooth of their sweetheart, Putnam Chocolates has 70 different varieties of chocolates to choose from.
The business' owner, Shane Danford, said boxes of individually wrapped chocolates are the biggest seller for the holiday.
Wrapped in festive heart covered paper and adorned with a bow, the boxes of chocolates range in price from $5.50 for a quarter pound to $22 for a pound.
"We have them wrapped and ready to go or they can choose their own," Danford said. "Some people only like caramel or they only like cherry."
He noted that other popular items in the shop on Front Street in Marietta are chocolate and caramel dipped pretzels and praline pecans.
"It's a caramelized sugar coating on the pecans," he said. "Those are a big seller."
According to the National Retail Federation, 50.5 percent of those celebrating Valentine's Day will buy candy, while 18.9 percent will buy jewelry.
Baker & Baker Jewelers in Marietta is ready for the holiday, with the always popular glass rose expected to be a huge hit. They are about $70 each.
"They come in yellow gold, platinum or any color," said Charla Hall, a manager there. "If you buy one of those you get 11 live roses free."
Also popular are the store's wrap-around sparkle bracelets starting at $45 and its Hearts on Fire diamonds.
"If you wanted to do really a special, special Valentine's, that's the way to go. It's the world's most perfectly cut diamond," owner Larry Hall said of the Hearts on Fire diamonds.
Those who want to give something a bit more unique than flowers or chocolate can instead send a singing valentine.
At least two groups will be traveling around the area delivering them, including the Just By Chance Barbershop Quartet and the Uptown Sound Sweet Adelines Quartet.
Belpre resident Rachel Fankhauser is the only local member of Uptown Sound. She'll be delivering the singing valentines with three women from the Dayton area Feb. 12, 13 and 14.
"There weren't a whole lot of groups in this area singing, so we figured it's a little bit of a money maker, plus it gets us out in the public," she said. "The money we will use for different things like hotel expenses when we compete, or traveling expenses or costumes, and we have to pay the copyright for music we use."
The Sweet Adelines group the women are a part of is an international organization with members in five continents who belong to more than 500 choruses and 1,200 quartets.
Folks can call Fankhauser at 236-8329 to order a singing valentine. The group will sing anywhere throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley. The cost for them to sing in person is $25 and they will also sing to someone over the phone for $15.
Song selections include "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," "It Had to be You," "Cuddle Up a Little Closer" and others.
"They can pick whatever song they want us to sing," Fankhauser said.
The Just By Chance Barbershop Quartet will also be delivering Singing Valentines, on Feb. 13 and 14. The group consists of Lew Yeager, of Marietta, Greg Sutton, of Spencer, W.Va., Will Wilburn, of Pullman, W.Va. and Larry Tarrant of Parkersburg.
Anyone interested in booking them can e-mail Lew Yeager at firstname.lastname@example.org. For $35, two or three love songs will be sung and the person being sung to will be given a fresh rose.
The men are part of the Barbershop Harmony Society, which consists of more than 30,000 men from the United States and Canada.