Here are some cute, clever ways to express your sentiments come Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank - or the hearts of those you’re gifting!
First stop, South Orange!
Victors Florist: When it comes to Valentine’s Day, a rose by any other name will still cost you an arm and a leg. “It’s about supply and demand,” explains florist and owner Lenny Zieff. “I pay almost double for my roses this time of year.”
A basic dozen roses will set you back $85, but there are plenty of other less costly - albeit less traditional - floral options ready for romance like lilies, irises, carnations and gardenias.
“You can pick come in to purchase loose flower to fit any budget, and my arrangements start at $50,” says Lenny. “You can’t go wrong when you give beautiful flowers and I only sell the best.” (The store’s manager, Judy Belf is quick to add that they also stock stuffed animals, toys, balloons, fruit baskets, all of which they can tailor to fit any budgets.)
Kitchen a la Mode: This South Orange Avenue standout is filled with kitchen, cooking and entertaining accessories sure to fill the V-day bill and keep giving long after Cupid’s flown. OwnerBen Salmon is a walking wealth of perfect present suggestions for any occasion and Valentine’s Day is no exception.
“Valentine’s can get boring if you do the same thing every year,” says Salmon. “I like to spice it up a bit!”
He’s got a crush-worthy assortment of Valentine’s goods like rose-shaped taper candles holders ($12.95), ‘Pucker Up’ bottle openers ($8.95) and heart-shaped wooden stirring spoons ($6.95) as well as unbelievably good artisan Spice Rack Chocolates in mouth watering flavors like Fresh Lemon with Sweet Basil, Smokey Chipotle Chili and Japanese Wasabi ($8.95 for small box, $24.95 for large, and Kitchen a la Mode is the only New Jersey store that carries them.)
The secret to giving a great Valentine’s gift has little to do with budget, he adds, “You really just have to find something as unique as the person you’re getting it for.” Luckily, Kitchen a la Mode is the sort of place that makes that possible- and easy – at any price point!
Next stop, Maplewood:
Maplewood Stationers - This Maplewood Village mainstay is home to classic corner store assortments of Valentine’s Day cards and candies (including a cheeky denim wrapped box of chocolates, which serves as humorously apt reminder of where Cupid’s calories actually end up, $12.99!). This old school establishment also houses Camille’s Cupcake Corner which is offering custom order heart-shaped cupcakes for the sweet price of $1.50. (Stop in for picture or call ahead for ordering information, 973-762-0888.)
Maplewood Nails & Spa - This little sliver of a Maplewood Avenue offers a straight-forward approach to nails and spas, but those in the know go there for the formidable skills of Charlie, who specializes in reflexology. As one devotee of Charlie’s backrubs puts it, “Sure, the massage chair sits in the middle of the room, but within the first minute of the massage I’m in Nirvana.” (Backrubs starts at an affordable - and gift card give-able - $15 for a ten minute session.)
Final destination, Millburn:
Lily’s Kandy Kloudz - This cozy candy shop lets you create your own candy assortment at any price point. The bevy of bulk candy available means you can treat your sweetie to sweets even with tight purse strings. Manager Stephanie Carvalho says Lily’s is the perfect place for Valentine’s presents at any price, “Our best customers are kids on budgets,” she explains. “Here you can really build a personalized gift, customizing your selection for the person you’ve got in mind.”
Carhalho suggests checking out their signature candy-filled ‘pillow case’ or decorative candy ‘trees’ for Valentine’s Day. (They’ve also got a large array of themes sweets that range from nice to naughty!) This Millburn Avenue favorite is happy to work with any budget and also offers the incentive of a $10 gift card with every $50 purchase. Sweet!
Happy Valentine’s Day shopping!
This article originally appeared in February 2011.