In Miami, you can find more flower stands than places playing salsa.
Over 90% of flowers sold in the United States enter through Miami International Airport, with 75% of flowers coming from Colombia and about 20% from Ecuador. The rest come from countries like Costa Rica and the Netherlands, and then they are shipped to all around the country.
NEWSY'S AXEL TURCIOS: What makes Miami so important for the flower import?
MIAMI-DADE AVIATION DEPARTMENT 'S DIMITRIOS NARES: Our geographic position. We are very close to South and Central America where most of these flowers are produced.
Sellers hope the typical Valentine's Day surge in sales will help during trying times.
Claudia Dubon has been at the same Miami corner for five years. She says business is down in the pandemic, and the supply of Colombian and Ecuadorian flowers gets more expensive by the hour.
Michael Black owns a distributor company that sells flowers to retail florists, wholesale florists, event companies, restaurants, hotels and more. He buys flowers mostly from south America and ships them all over the U.S.
But there are endless logistics involved, all turned upside down by inflation and the pandemic.
"The cost of importing and shipping over the road trucks and all those things have just gone up tremendously," Black said.
The shipment process is complex. With the Valentine's Day rush, florists are working seven days a week, more than 14 hours a day.
Avianca Cargo is the number one airline bringing flowers into Miami, with 80 weekly flights. Each cargo pallet the crew has to unload weighs about 5,000 pounds.
Miami projects it will receive over a billion cut flowers during its Valentine’s rush — about a 17% increase over the same period in 2021.