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      Higher gas prices even hard on Valentine's Day

      Higher delivery charges, thanks to higher gas prices, are part of your Valentine's flower bill

      Higher gas prices (up 40 cents a gallon from this time last year, 20 cents of that in the last month alone) are being blamed for price increases at area florists.

      At Markowitz Florist in downtown Syracuse, they've tried to hold the line on flower prices: owner Jini Cerio says they have not raised rose prices in 20 years. However, they have added to delivery fees, though Cerio says they've also cut their profit margins to try to keep prices down.And, she points out, it's not just the delivery costs that have gone up: flower prices are also higher because they're transported in (from Colombia, Ontario and the Netherlands, primarily).

      Despite the costs, Cerio says they expect a big day. Valentine's is the biggest day for all florists, and she expects to stay up all night getting her 200 deliveries scheduled for tomorrow ready. And, she has a theory on this: when times are good, people are interested in good times.When times are bad, says Cerio, they tend to remember the people who stick with them--sweethearts, parents, friends and neighbors--and more of them get a Valentine's rememberance.

      As for economies, Cerio says 'you don't have to go huge,' one flower, properly presented, makes a good impression just as much as a dozen.