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Flowers on Valentine’s Day mean a lot to your sweetheart and the local florists who sell them. (Kurt Schlosser/GeekWire)

Valentine’s Day is big business when it comes to candy, cards and especially flowers. But for small florists, the bloom on their yearly boom could be a lot bigger were it not for the deceptive practices of online retailers. KIRO Radio reported Friday on a Bothell, Wash., florist who has been stung by shadow companies and is fighting back.

Americans spend about $2 billion on flowers for Valentine’s Day, according to CNN. Laurel Stromme-Dede, general manager of The Bothell Florist, told KIRO that she’ll sell about 10,000 roses this week, but it could be a lot more if calls intended for her shop didn’t go to a faraway business.

Stromme-Dede told KIRO how Bothell-area state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe was a classic example of a duped customer. She needed flowers for a party, did an online search for The Bothell Florist, thought she was calling that business and ended up placing her order with a “notorious order gatherer” called Wesleyberry Flowers.

When McAuliffe’s order fell through and she ended up with no flowers for her event, KIRO says that’s when Stromme-Dede did her work of educating the senator and eventually working with her to get a bill passed “making it illegal for these businesses to deceive customers into thinking they’re buying local.”

But listen to reporter Sara Lerner’s KIRO report for more on why, despite the law, nothing has really changed.

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