Triangle businesses optimistic about Valentine's Day and about next phase of pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Kayla and France Duncan are new to chocolate making.

They decided to go out for Valentine's Day to the Chocolate Boutique in Lafayette Village in north Raleigh to try their hand.

It's their first date night out in some time as COVID-19 cases continue to decline across the state

"After the pandemic, everyone was scared to go out, everything was closed so it feels good to be out and doing things," said France.

Valentine's Day lured the Duncans and others looking for last-minute gifts to the store.

"Everything has gone up seemingly exponentially," said Kesha Dozier, owner of the shop. "Whether it's the price of coconut or chocolate or ingredients, we've seen increases in all of those."

She said she's dealing with all of that but she's more optimistic.

Most businesses agreed, saying they see people coming out after an Omicron hibernation and especially for Valentine's Day.

Thomas Buser is the general manager of Cantina 18 in the Village District and said he loves to see the crowds.

Right now he's having trouble getting certain types of tequila and for a while, he could only get Corona in a can.

He's also concerned about the uptick in avocado prices but he said he believes people have adjusted to the new normal.

"People are going to get out and experience things," Buser said.

Floral Dimensions on University Drive in Durham said it is hitting its numbers and doing far better than last year.

The business dealt with glass and plant shortages but those didn't stop this long-time business.

"Absolutely there's a sense of relief," said Stephanie Garrett, manager at the shop. "People seem to be more comfortable coming out and coming into the store."
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