Cost of love: Some Chicagoans spending more on Valentine's Day 2024 as prices increase

Evelyn Holmes Image
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Cost of love: Some Chicagoans spending more on Valentine's Day
Kilwins Chicago and Ashland-Addison Florist have been gearing up for a Valentine's Day rush.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Love is in the air as many express their affection for Valentine's Day.

Hyde Park resident Matthew Hilty was out to buy a special chocolaty gift for both his wife and daughter.

"For something like this, this meets the budget. And it's not a huge budget, and it's not a wide array of gifts, but this seemed like something they would enjoy," Hilty said.

But while some remain sweet on the choice, other may sour on the idea as the price of love goes up in 2024.

Thanks to extreme weather in West Africa where most of the world's cocoa beans are grown, this Valentine's Day, the price of chocolate is way up.

Kilwins Chicago has a wide array of offerings for the day. Owner Jacqueline Jackson said she expects the 14th to be one of its busier days at the seven locations she owns.

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"The price of cocoa has increased, but Kilwins did not increase their prices yet, so Valentine's Day, you'll find the same prices as you had last year," Jackson said.

And anyone looking to other staples of the day to express their devotion could see an increase too.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, there has been a 4.7% increase in the price of candy and gum compared this time last year and a 26.2% increase compared to January 2020.

Jewelry is up only slightly by 0.6% compared to 15.8% during the pandemic. Flowers have inched up 3% over last year.

But that has not seemed to affect the number of orders at Ashland-Addison Florist.

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The family owned business expects to deliver around 3,000 arrangements for Valentine's Day with their $90 bouquet of dozen red roses still the most popular.

"We definitely dealt with a lot of the inflation over the last two years. It's leveled off, so we've been able to kind of hold prices now this year to last year," said Ashland-Addison Florist President Justin Sheffield.

Of course, some celebrating love will opt to go the romantic restaurant route.

This year, it is expected that Valentine's Day spending will total in the tens of billions of dollars, with most people spending on average a $193 dollars on the day.

But for Mary-Sol Flores, the day is only about love. With a fresh bouquet in hand, the 18-year-old is committed to making sure her girlfriend knows just how much she's loved.

"I don't think love has a budget," Flores said. "If you love somebody, it's based off what they do for you and what you do for them and the connection you have."

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