You might have forgotten that Valentine's Day is Friday, but local florists, bakers and restaurant employees will tell you there's no way the busiest day of the year could ever slip under their radar.

Shops do their best to prepare for the holiday every year, but sometimes nothing can truly get them ready to face high numbers of orders, walk-in customers and those looking for last-minute gifts.

White Oaks Florist, located in the Northwest Promenade, started placing flower, chocolate and gift orders a month in advance, explained owner Jami Graham. She even called for extra holiday staff to make the shop run like a "well-oiled machine."

Two weeks ago, florists began preparing vases with greenery, and this week has been all about completing hundreds of flower arrangements.

"During the week of Valentine’s, we actually do about 1,000 deliveries," Graham said. "Valentine’s Day is our busiest day, but all week long we’re in valentine mode." The phone rings off the hook, and every year the flower shop hits its limit for arrangements.

As of Wednesday, she said last-minute orders can still be placed, and there is still some availability left for deliveries, but all spots might be taken by early Thursday. Not to worry, though, because customers can walk-in and pick up ready-made arrangements or custom orders. 

And if it's too late for flowers, Graham said there are chocolates, balloons, plush toys and other items available for purchase. "This shop is really set up for those last-minute customers."

Bakeries have also been hard at work making sure they have plenty of pink and red frosting for their cookies, cakes and pastries. 

"Crazy" was the best way to describe the last two weeks at Sugar Twist Bakery at 5511 Calloway Drive, according to manager Dee Long. But the true madness began Tuesday, as pre-orders and custom orders started coming in.

It's difficult to prepare treats in advance for Valentine's Day because the bakery has "to keep our products as fresh as possible" before giving them to customers. However, Long said employee schedules have been changed in order to ensure team members come in at different times and can rotate.

"We always think we’re prepared, but it’s nothing compared to the day before (Valentine's Day)," Long said.

Every single year, Sugar Twist Bakery creates new love-themed treats for customers. This year includes round- and heart-shaped cookies with various emojis on them — such as a poop emoji that says "You're stinkin' cute" and a smiley face — along with cookies with messages on them and gift sets.

The bakery also accommodates any last-minute orders, which can add to the week's madness. But having customers come in year after year gives Long and her staff a great sense of gratitude.

Restaurants are also anticipating three nights full of diners. 

Mama Tosca's Ristorante Italiano owner Luigi Rienzo said Friday night is booked to the max, while Saturday night has very few seats available. Many people will also head to the establishment Thursday night to beat the crowds.

Seats are still available at Red Pepper, according to manager Natalie Garcia, but those looking to book last-minute reservations shouldn't wait too long since most should be taken by Thursday.

Mama Tosca's is all about its signature Italian fare, while Red Pepper serves traditional Mexican dishes with flare. Red Pepper is also offering a special Valentine's Day menu that features rib eye steak with Mexican shrimp scampi, filet oscar with lobster and a rack of lambs with pasilla chile sauce.

Other than the food, "It’s kind of a fun atmosphere, it’s not quiet," said Garcia as to why couples head to Red Pepper for the holiday.

If couples are having a hard time reserving a table at a restaurant on Valentine's Day, "Just wait till the next available day," she suggests.

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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