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Local candy stores celebrate Valentine’s Day success

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – From flowers to chocolates, Americans are expected to spend billions of dollars on their Valentine’s Day this year. The National Retail Federation says the total is approaching $26 billion. On average, Americans will each spend $192, up from $175 last year.

Here in Wichita, candy stores are witnessing this sweet deal.

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest times of the year for Wichita candy stores. The holiday rush brings them more income and job opportunities.

Locals seem to agree that sweets are the perfect way to show their love for each other.

Two local businesses, Nifty Nut House and Cocoa Dolce, said they were groomed for business by local lovebirds.

“It’s a huge workday for us,” said Claire Gerig, head of retail operations at Cocoa Dolce.

Their downtown location has chocolatiers making desserts for three outlets.

Nifty Nut House owner Steve Jahn is ready to put anyone on the floor for vacationing clients.

“Holidays are always a big raise,” Jahn said of the business. “People like to give a small gift and we have nothing but love to share.”

And while the holiday is great for income and job opportunities, inflation has taken a toll on both businesses.

“Our commodity price has definitely gone up a bit,” Gerig said. “Their business is paying more for things like chocolate, milk and eggs.

Jahn says their good prices have increased up to 20% in the last three years. At certain times, it has caused blows to their entrances.

“Nuts are high, then they are low. And when they’re low, we do a little bit better, and when they’re high, we don’t do so well,” Jahn explained.

The currently rising costs have led both stores to agree on a necessary price hike.

“It’s just time to make a small move. We don’t move too much. We try to be better by spending less. More value, higher quality… less price,” said Jahn.

“It’s a good balance,” Gerig said, “We’re basically trying to stay relevant, but also not have it hit our local and loyal customers very hard.”

Even with the necessary price changes, both stores try to avoid making a major impact on their customers. Because whether it’s holiday traffic or year-round shoppers, both businesses are grateful for the support of locals.

“It’s good to hear that Wichita is always out,” Gerig said.

“Wichita, thanks for everything, for all the years,” Jahn said. “We appreciate it.”

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