CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With one of the biggest gift-giving holidays upon us, florists, jewelers and restaurant owners have been feeling the love from their customers.
Valentine's Day spending in the United States is expected to reach $17.6 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Locally, storeowners say the holiday is always a busy time.
"We're going to get slammed on Valentine's Day," Bluegrass Kitchen owner Keeley Steele said. The holiday falling on a Tuesday this year is an added bonus, she said.
"I think I can speak for all of my restaurant-owner friends, the industry rejoices when holidays fall in the middle of the week," she said.
Weekends are traditionally busy times for restaurants. Having a holiday like Valentine's Day in the middle of the week ensures that there will be big crowds on a night other than the weekend, she said.
Steele said the East End restaurant saw a lot of business over the weekend as well.
At Charleston's Young Floral Company, employees have been working overtime preparing for the big day, owner Jan Pearce said.
Despite an economy recovering from recession, Pearce said her shop does a lot of business on Valentine's Day no matter what.
"It's a have-to holiday," Pearce said. "Most men don't come home without sending or bringing something."
At Food Among the Flowers on Quarrier Street, it's a similar story.
"I don't think anything could affect Valentine's Day for us," said Linda Williamson, an assistant to store owner Jim Fletcher. "It's a tradition and it's symbolic and we're really busy but that's a good thing.
"This is like our Super Bowl Sunday," Williamson said.
According to NRF surveys, Americans planned to spend more on Valentine's Day this year compared to 2011. On average, people planned to spend around $126 each, compared to $116 in 2011, according to NRF.
While the economy has affected sales at Winter Floral and Antiques, co-owner Steve Duffield said Valentine's Day and Mother's Day sales have not been affected as much as day-to-day business.
"I think it's just a special time or the year where husbands and family members show their appreciation for their spouses or mothers," Duffield said.