Sleepless in Iola

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February 13, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Duane McGraw got about two hours sleep Thursday night and Friday afternoon he wasn’t sure whether he’d get any at all the coming night.
“This is the busiest holiday of the year for us,” said McGraw of Duane’s Flowers, 5 S. Jefferson. “It started a little earlier this year because Valentine’s Day is Sunday — we’ll be closed on Sunday —  and a lot of guys wanted flowers delivered to their wives at work.”
Kelly Spears at Iola Greenhouse and Gifts also said she expected to be up late Friday night.
“I may be here all night and until sometime Sunday afternoon,” she told the Register Friday afternoon.
Her business, 704 E. Lincoln, will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, and “later if we need to be to take care our of customers.” Spears said deliveries would be made throughout the area Sunday, not just in Iola, and that she was eager to accommodate anyone who wanted to schedule Sunday delivery.
“We’re here to help out,” and give a Cupid a helping hand in any way she and her employees can, Spears said.
Between arranging typical Valentine’s bouquets, Spears and her helpers prepared flowers for Iola High School’s homecoming.
McGraw and daughter Kristina DeLaTorre do much of the bouquet composition at Duane’s, which put them at a feverish pace from the time orders started at mid-week. Friday the phone rang constantly and walk-in customers were lined up at the order desk.
“We also have two funerals (Friday) and homecoming in Colony,” McGraw said, plus another funeral in Colony today.
The quick-paced run-up to Valentine’s Day is far from a new experience for McGraw. He and wife Judy have had their flower shop in Iola 34 years and he worked in a shop in Garnett nine years before that.
“I remember a lot of sleepless night right before Valentine’s Day,” he said. “Once several years ago I laid my head down on my arm sometime during the night, went to sleep and when I awoke I couldn’t move the arm. I had to make a quick trip to chiropractor the next morning. I couldn’t do flowers with one arm.”
Deliveries for Valentine’s Day fly in every direction not just Iola, “to Moran, Humboldt, LaHarpe, Gas, Colony, Le Roy, just all over the place,” McGraw said.

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