By Mary McGuire

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — From candy to flowers, Americans are expected to shell out more than $18 billion this Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation.

In Minnesota, businesses are bracing for a busy day as last minute shoppers try to scoop up sweets for their sweethearts.

Cranking out more than a half a million pieces of candy every day, workers at Abdallah Candies will be filling hundreds of chocolate heart boxes all day long on Valentine’s Day.

The candy company has been satisfying Twin Cities sweethearts with sweet tooths for more than 100 years and recently expanded to Apple Valley, just in time to meet the Valentine’s Day demand.

“We created about 25 new jobs when we came to Apple Valley and the good thing is that we have room to grow here,” CEO Steve Hegedus said.

Nearly 50 percent of people plan to buy candy for a special someone in their life this Valentine’s Day, followed closely by flowers, which makes this Tuesday the single biggest day of the year for another institution in the Twin Cities: Bachman’s Floral, Gift and Garden.

“We have about 225,000 roses that come in, 100,000 tulips and we will make about 7,500 arrangements and over the course of the holiday, we deliver up to 10,000 packages,” Bachman’s Susie Bachman West said.

With that kind of demand, it’s a team effort to make sure those blooms get out the door in time.

“If you work in accounting, you might be helping send out packages or deliver packages or help process some flowers. It’s a great team effort,” said Bachman West.

Money can’t buy you love this Valentine’s Day, but it can buy you lots and lots of chocolate and flowers, which keeps local stores busy and customers happy.

“When you put a great piece of candy in your mouth, you can kind of just escape and you can do that for every piece in the box,” Hegedus said.

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