Businesses get upswing in traffic during graduation season

Kevin Wilson

Whenever “Pomp and Circumstance” is playing, there’s no doubt a proud parent or grandparent. Or a student relieved that everything’s over with. Or a speaker talking innocuously about the “next step.”

Somewhere off in the distance, there’s also a cash register working, and a business working overtime. While graduation season isn’t the busiest time for most businesses, there’s a significant upswing in business.

Over at Katie’s Flowerland, the four biggest flower-related events take place in the first half of the year. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are the top holidays, owner Rose Riley said. After that, it’s prom season, and graduation is the fourth-busiest time of the year, with anywhere from 100 to 250 graduation-only customers.

Eastern New Mexico University and Clovis Community College held their commencement ceremonies last weekend, and area high school graduations are under way, with Clovis High School’s set for a Saturday service where Wildcat purple will accent many floral arrangements.

Being ready requires basic communication, and extra planning and planting.

“Every class has a class flower,” Riley said. “So that’s what I stock up, whatever they request. For parents coming in, I carry over that theme a little bit. If it’s Eastern, they’ll want green ribbon (as an accent).”

When it’s for parents, friends or family members who aren’t concerned with the class flower, they’ll usually go with a mix of flowers that are heavy on roses and tulips.

Spring is also the busiest time over at Holland’s Office Equipment’s print shop. That is primarily so, print shop manager Kerry Cross said, because schools are finalizing their budgets and the shop handles a good share of that business.

But, he said, anywhere from 90 to 120 people come into Holland’s because they need announcements for the upcoming day.

“We do mostly graduation announcement cards,” Cross said. “Every year, they seem to go away from the ones the school does. They can use their own pictures, their own wording, that kind of thing. I’m working on four of them right now.”

Social networking is somewhat killing the concept of the high school reunion, with groups for old classmates and constant updates on any important life event. But, Cross said, printed announcements haven’t lost too much popularity.

“I think the stuff that we print is for family members,” Cross said. “The kids will tweet and text … but the actual invitations are for grandmothers and grandfathers. They want something they can touch.”