May 12, 2018

Mother’s Day spending to be second highest in survey history (Chattanooga Times Free Press) »

Chattanooga Times Free Press logo Womply
May 12th, 2018

Megan Cooley works on putting together a hand tied arrangement at Humphreys Flowers on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter

While many would say you can’t put a price on a mother’s love, it doesn’t hurt to try on Mother’s Day.

And businesses around town are ready to help locals shop for mom with holiday specials and gifts with ads such as “Treat mom to a spa package!” or “A bouquet of flowers a perfect Mother’s Day gift!”

This Sunday, 86 percent of Americans will spend a combined $23.1 billion — the second highest in survey history — to show mom just how much they care, according to a survey of more than 7,500 participants by the National Retail Federation. Those celebrating are expected to spend an average of $180 per person on the classic Mother’s Day gifts — anything from cards and flowers to personal services, such as a spa day.

About 77 percent of the people surveyed said they will purchase greeting cards for mom, 69 percent will buy flowers, 55 percent will go out to dinner or brunch and 34 percent will buy jewelry.

“Those between 35 and 44 years old are planning to spend the most this season, while younger consumers are the most likely to put their online shopping skills to good use to find inspiration for the perfect gift for mom,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president of Prosper Insights & Analytics, the data firm that crunched the numbers.

The Daily Ration, a brunch spot and restaurant in North Chattanooga, expects to hit a record sales day for the annual holiday.

This will be only the second Mother’s Day the restaurant has been open, said co-owner Jason Bowers.

“It will be an all-hands-on-deck situation,” he said this week. “We need more people in the building to help us make sure people are getting quick, prompt service and tables aren’t having to spend too long there.”

Bowers said they’ll seat 500 people on a “really good” Sunday when the weather is nice and they can make use of their patio tables. A few weeks ago, they rolled out a new menu in anticipation of Mother’s Day, and Bowers said they won’t be taking reservations, only because they don’t do that normally.

“It’s probably not a good idea to start something you don’t do randomly then you don’t do it well and it backfires,” he explained.

Bowers is also the co-owner of the Bitter Alibi downtown, another popular but smaller eatery in town. For the holiday, it will probably only serve around 200 guests, he said.

Mother’s Day is ranked the second biggest day for restaurant sales in Tennessee with sales up 56 percent, reports Womply, a company that analyzes data for small businesses. No joke, April Fool’s Day was the top day for sales.

And it turns out that May boasts a big bump in sales for local restaurants not just because of Mother’s Day. Womply analyzed 365 days worth of restaurant sales in Tennessee last year and found Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day brought restaurants more revenue than Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and the Super Bowl.

Several restaurants are running specials for the day, and the Back Inn Cafe in the Bluff View Art District is even opening Sunday despite its normal hours of Tuesday-Saturday.

Florists in town are also busy filling phone orders, online requests and accommodating walk-ins this time of year. The family run Humphreys Flowers on McCallie Avenue prepares by bringing in more drivers. Owner Helen Johnson Humphreys said usually they operate with two vans but for Mother’s Day they bring in six.

Online orders have really changed the game for the Humphreys, too. By offering the option to order online, people can order any time of day — not just when employees are in the shop to answer questions or calls. While Valentine’s Day is also busy, orders usually are concentrated to just one day.

“Mother’s Day is more spread out,” Humphreys said Thursday. “People like to start delivering today, tomorrow and through the weekend.”

Humphreys said they don’t accept any weddings for Mother’s Day weekend and this year has been busier than the last.

Betsy Grafe at Grafe Studio, a floral shop in St. Elmo, said one of her biggest weddings is this weekend, which helps add to the chaos. She said this year they brought on four additional, part-time employees.

With her son, and business manager, out of town for the weekend, Grafe was answering phone orders herself Thursday afternoon.

“It’s been kind of hectic,” she said. “We could use a prayer!”

Contact staff writer Allison Shirk at ashirk@timesfreepress.com, @Allison_Shirk or 423-757-6651.

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