Flowers, chocolates, food help to close Mother’s Day distance

  • Floral arrangments from The Botaniste.  Photo courtesy of Miller

  • Corina Miller, owner of The Botaniste, a florist shop in Easthampton. Photo courtesy Corina Miller

Staff Writer 
Published: 5/9/2020 12:02:46 PM

For many, being able to spend the day with their mom on Mother’s Day by going out to brunch or a family gathering is a tradition. But this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are socially distancing themselves during the holiday. 

Despite this, Pioneer Valley residents are still buying flowers, homemade chocolates or curbside pickup meals from their favorite restaurants planned for the holiday this Sunday. 

For Corina Miller and her staff at The Botaniste, a florist in Easthampton, this year is by far the busiest the shop has been for Mother’s Day. Orders have been coming in via phone and email every couple of minutes from morning until night. Miller, owner of The Botaniste, said during the past three to four days, they’ve taken 60 to 80 flower orders per day. 

The Botaniste was closed for more than a month and now the shop is offering deliveries. Staff has been limited at the shop from 12 to 20 people down to four people in the building, which poses a challenge to fill all of the orders that are coming in. 

“I think that there’s just so many more people ordering flowers for their loved ones because they can’t see each other,” she said. “Right now, I think that people just appreciate their mothers more than ever. With this happening, everybody is suddenly realizing how much people mean to them and really wanting to do something special for them.” 

Miller, who was previously a florist in New York and London, said she opened her shop on a whim after staying in the area for several months with her family. During the shop’s first Mother’s Day, she was so overwhelmed with orders that she called her mother to help out. 

“Ever since then, which is about eight years ago, it’s been a Mother’s Day tradition,” she said. “And so my mother and I do flowers at the shop. This year, because I want to take good care of her, she’s mostly out harvesting [flowers].” 

Heavenly Chocolate, a handmade chocolates shop in Thornes Marketplace in Northampton, has received orders for curbside pickups of their chocolate not only for Mother’s Day, but from friends and family members buying chocolate gifts as a way to reach out to one another, said Nate Peter Clifford, co-owner of the chocolate shop with his wife, Jade Jump. 

“I think people want to have some sort of physical type of connection,” he explained. “So people are buying things and asking us to put footnotes on it like, ‘Happy quarantine’ or “Hope you’re holding together good. I hope something sweet will help’ or ‘I’m sorry I can’t visit you, but I’m thinking about you, Mom, and here’s some chocolates.’ We get a lot of notes like that just as people are trying to navigate the world that we’re in right now.” 

But one of the main challenges for the business has been dwindling supplies of their handmade chocolates due to the pandemic, Clifford said. Most of their chocolate supplies that they made for Easter are starting to run low.

The couple also own Cornucopia, a natural wellness market that’s in the basement of Thornes Marketplace. The website for Heavenly Chocolate is shut down during the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped customers from buying the shop’s chocolates through Cornucopia’s website. 

“It’s encouraging. People expect to be able to get that really good homemade hand-dipped, hand-topped chocolate that we make for Mother’s Day,” Cliffoprd said. “They’re finding us even though the website for Heavenly Chocolate is closed. They’ve been putting in orders for curbside and delivery through our Coronupica website … It’s a pretty constant thing. We’re doing our best to fill those orders.”

Clifford said his wife is 18 weeks pregnant and the couple have a 4-year-old child. For Mother’s Day, they’ll be taking an extra day off this weekend. 

“I worked 26 out of the last 30 days,” he said. “I’m grateful and not complaining. We’ll be taking a little extra time off and try to get outside and be together.” 

Ryan Hughes, front of house manager for Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, a cultural center that also includes The Bistro as well as Judd’s Restaurant, which serves Czech-American cuisine, said during this past week the restaurant has seen a big uptick in customers picking up meal orders. 

Gateway City Arts is offering its Mother’s Day takeaway through Saturday, which includes salad options, a choice of red wine braised short ribs, a Greek-style lamb shank or baked cod for entrees, as well as carrot cake or flourless chocolate cake for dessert, he said. 

“We actually sold out of our short ribs and were able to get to the store and get some more,” Hughes said. “It was in very high demand. We just added more portions of that.” 

During Mother’s Day, when the restaurant is closed, Hughes plans on video chatting with his parents. 

“I’m practicing social distancing for my parents,” he explained. “They’re a little up there in age and a higher risk than I am. A Zoom and meal meeting it is.” 

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com




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