WEST PITTSTON — Temperatures were no higher than 20 degrees on Friday, but that didn’t stop the West Pittston Hose Company from spreading the Valentine’s Day love.
The hose company is continuing its annual tradition of selling roses in the parking lot of Driscoll’s Home Center at 720 Wyoming Ave. in the days leading up to the holiday.
Members of the hose company can be found at the site from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday selling red and pastel roses.
Two dozen pastel roses are $25 and one dozen red roses is $30, but customers can by single red roses for $5 or three red roses in a vase for $15.
The roses are kept in a heated tent because they must be kept at 40 degrees, said West Pittston Hose Company Chief John Hood.
It was 7 degrees when the hose company members began setting up at 7 a.m. on Friday and Hood said it took about 30 minutes for the tent to reach a good temperature before they could begin displaying the flowers.
Hood said the department has been selling Valentine’s Day roses for the past 10 years in the exact same spot.
“We went down to a fire show in Harrisburg because we were looking for a fundraiser and we saw this down there,” he said. “We thought we’d give it a shot and 10 years later we’re still going strong with it.”
This year marks the first year the hose company shared the parking lot with a business, as the lot was vacant after CVS Pharmacy moved from the Wyoming Avenue location to the intersection of Tunkhannock and Wyoming avenues in the mid-2000s.
Liz Driscoll, owner of Driscoll’s Home Center was thrilled to have the hose company continue its holiday tradition.
“We welcomed them with open arms to use the lot without hesitation” she said. “We are very supportive of the West Pittston Hose Company and helping their cause.”
With over 1,300 units of roses, Hood said they are ordered and delivered from Neal’s Flower Shop in New York City.
All proceeds raised from selling roses are put back into the hose company and roses that aren’t sold are sent back to Neal’s Flower Shop.
Members of the community braved the cold to buy roses for loved ones, including John Birochak of Duryea, who was buying roses for his wife of 23 years, Luciane.
“This is only part of it,” said Birochak. “She’s going to get more roses and candy.”
Birochak said he buys his wife roses every Valentine’s Day, but this was only the third time he them from the West Pittston Hose Company, of which he said he was proud to help out.
“It’s great to serve the community, even in the smallest ways,” Birochak said. “These people that risk their lives are unbelievable. They go out there and they fight fires and do all the service they do. They’re great people.”
Hood said they will begin planning next year’s sale as soon as this one concludes.
“When we finish up with this we’ll tell (Neal’s Flower Shop) we’re interested for next year and then about two months out (in December) they’ll call us and we’ll set everything up,” said Hood. “We call them every night with totals to how much we sold, and then we always tell them we’re interested in doing this again next year.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher