Can't buy love?

By Anna Yee

February 12, 2012 Updated Feb 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Business is booming at Beck's Florist, or should I say blooming?

Employees have been preparing for Valentine's Day for the last two months.

"You've got to order flowers, containers, greens, plush animals, accessories," said Victor Becks, Vice President of Beck's Florist. "There is so much that goes into the equation."

Factor more than 5,000 flowers into the equation, and that's just roses.

"We're not just selling flowers. We're selling emotions," said Becks, "and that is a very big part of Valentine's Day. It's a very emotional holiday."

And emotions seem to be getting a little sweeter.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend an average of about $126 this year.

That's up eight and a half percent from last year.

Total spending this Valentine's Day? Nearly $18 billion nationwide.

The NRF also reports more than half of all celebrants will buy candy.

At Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Peoria, customers are stocking up on sweets, especially,

"Strawberries, definitely," said Megan Swanson, who works at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. "During Valentine's Day, we can't keep them in the store fast enough."

The store expects selling nearly 3,000 chocolate covered strawberries, Monday and Tuesday alone.

Washington mother Jennifer Caruthers is opting for the second best seller, candied apples.

"It's just kind of a different treat, just different than all the other candy you get at Valentine's Day," said Caruthers.

Speaking of unique, Relics on Adams sells jewelry and gifts that are a little less traditional and less pricey.

"You can find a great gift for under 20 dollars," said Laurie Trotter, who works at Relics.

Still, jewelry spending is expected to be at its best this year, topping nearly $4 billion across the nation.

However you choose to declare your love, remember it's the thought that counts.

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