COLUMBIA, SC — Nicole Corbett loves her job, even on Valentine’s Day and even in the snow.
Corbett has worked as the manager of Edible Arrangements on Harden Street for the past year. And this year is her first leading the employees to prepare for the store’s mega holiday by herself. But the weather threw in a wrench; the store was closed to customers on Wednesday and Thursday during the rare ice and snow storm in South Carolina.
“So far, everything’s gone smoothly, considering the traumatic weather change that we’ve been experiencing,” Corbett said.
It was a blessing that the worst of the storm occurred in the middle of the week, so that Valentine’s Day on Friday would not be as affected.
“The day of (the holiday) is the most important,” she said.
This Valentine’s Day will have more than 10 times the normal 40 orders per day. About 500 orders were planned for Friday including some 130 orders that had originally been planned for Thursday. The store delivers arrangements akin to floral bouquets – except they are made of food, mainly fruit.
“Valentine’s Day sets the entire year for Edible Arrangements,” Corbett said.
Even though the store was closed Thursday, employees worked to prepare for the holdiay.
Several employees, including Dianna Colvin, made calls to customers letting them know they needed to reschedule their orders. It was different from the typical day of helping create the elaborate fruit baskets, Colvin said.
“It’s more customer service than production,” Colvin said.
As soon as she got off the phone with one customer, the telephone would immediately ring again. She often thanked customers on the other end of the call for their cooperation.
Frannie Hammond also helped make telephone calls. She said she hadn’t had to deal with any angry people in the 50 or so calls she had made in the first few hours of her shift.
“The phones are ringing off the hook,” she said.
Meanwhile, a couple of workers took apart some baskets that had been made on Tuesday, because each arrangement is made the day it is delivered, Corbett said.
“We destroy any arrangements that are not sent out the next day so we can make new fresh ones to be sent back out,” Corbett said.
No arrangements could be made on Thursday, so Corbett said she planned to prepare all of the production materials for Friday.
A production line will help make the process efficient, Corbett said. She said start to finish, baskets should be completed about every two minutes. She plans for some workers to get to work by 6 a.m. and have about 200 baskets complete by the time the store opens at 8 a.m.
About double the staff will work on Friday, and between eight and 12 drivers will help deliver the arrangements instead of the usual one driver, she said.
Friday will be Hammond’s first day working at the store during Valentine’s Day. She will be at the head of production putting pineapples and grapes into the arrangements, she said.
Meanwhile, Corbett will be behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly.
“Your mind is definitely all over the place, but my mindset is prepared for this,” she said.
Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.