Valentine's Day connection to Worcester, Mass.

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February 14, 2014, 6:12 pm
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(NECN: Mike Cronin) - Mike Corkery chose a sweet Valentine's Day gift for his wife at The Queen's Cups in Millbury, Mass., where a steady stream of customers is a treat for owner Renee King.

"Younger couples, we've had older couples, we've had boyfriends, we've had girlfriends, we've had husbands, we've had wives," she says.

Thursday's snowstorm forced many to stay off the roads, giving King more time to prepare for the busy holiday.

"We like to have all of our pre-orders done ahead of time and we had close to 40 this year, so the weather helped yesterday, slowing it down just a little bit just so that we could get everything done," she says.

At The French Bouquet in Worcester, the snow had a different effect, since they lost a day of deliveries.

"Slows everything down. Delivery is very hard. We had to stop taking deliveries today because of the extra time that it takes for drivers to get in and out of peoples' driveways," Owner Jeff French says.

Regardless of the weather, flowers and gifts are musts for many valentines. While the holiday wasn't invented in Worcester, the business of Valentine's Day finds its roots in the city.

"From a commercial standpoint, sure, Worcester played a very important role in the Valentine industry," Chad Sirois, Worcester Historical Museum Communications Manager, says.

According to the Worcester Historical Museum,in the 1840s, businesswoman Esther Howland began making Valentine's Day cards popular in America.

"She started a little assembly line in her house on Summer Street and it became an extremely profitable business," Sirois says.

Her business grew and was bought out by another company. By the 1940s, the museum says about 90 percent of Valentine's cards were being made in Worcester. Although the industry has since left, the spirit is still here and it shows at The Queen's Cups, where there's no shortage of cupcakes. Just one does the trick for Paul Surette.

"I think less is more. I think that it's something very special and you don't have to go overboard," he says.

Tags: massachusetts, Worcester, Valentine's Day, Mike Cronin
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