Small businesses ready for last-minute Valentine's Day shoppers

Small businesses ready for last-minute Valentine's Day shoppers

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Americans are expected to spend $18.2 billion this Valentine's Day, and small businesses in Hattiesburg and Petal are ready for shoppers looking for last-minute gifts.

According to Wallet Hub, 94 percent of people celebrating want to receive candy or chocolate.

"You know people come in last minute for valentines, so we've done prepackaged strawberries," said Jennifer Thorpe, a decorator at Home Bake and Candy Shoppe in Hattiesburg. "We've got cupcakes with strawberries. We've got the bouquets of chocolate dipped strawberries, so we've got a lot of different things that you can come in and get."

Americans are also set to spent $4.3 billion on jewelry for Valentine's Day, and Carter's Jewelry in Petal said it is not too late to buy that either.

"We're set," said owner Chae Carter. "I tell people we're going to knock out a little drive thru window over there, but you can get anything. We can size it today. We can size it within an hour. We can have a diamond set. We have solitaire settings. We have everything ready to go."

Carter said there is still time to pick the perfect gift even if you are not sure what to choose.

"That's what we do for a living is like holidays and occasions, so we become like a present-picking professional, I'd like to say," Carter said. "They're always like 'I don't know what to get her.' I'm like 'I do. It's fine.'"

With an estimated 9 million Americans proposing this Valentine's Day, Carter said she has sold several engagement rings.

"We have a ton of 3 and 4 carat (diamonds) in right now just in case anyone needs one," she said laughing.

Carter's Jewelry is also extending hours, staying open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and running several sales and specials. If a customer spends more than $250, the store is giving away a free diamond heart pendant. If it is more than $10,000, the customer gets a free 70-inch Samsung 4K TV.

The bottom line: it's not too late to still be shopping on Valentine's Day for a gift.

"You have so much to choose from, so if you haven't gotten anything, you can come here, and I promise you'll be able to find something," Thorpe said.