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Combo of Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day a boost for businesses

Benjamin Bodley and his wife, Renee Bodley, owners

Benjamin Bodley and his wife, Renee Bodley, owners of Benny B's restaurant in Baldwin, show the red velvet chicken and waffles they will be serving on Valentine's Day. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day falling on the same holiday weekend this year means consumers will see more promotions by major retailers and small businesses, experts said.

The extended holiday weekend, with Valentine’s Day falling on Sunday, will give Long Islanders the weekend to spend on gifts, meals, merchandise and special outings, while bringing extra revenue for business owners, retail experts said. The last time Presidents Day fell the day after Valentine’s Day was in 2009.

“National holidays and special occasions heighten consumers’ awareness of deals and has impact on the economy on a national and local level,” said Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce.

Valentine’s Day sales nationally are expected to reach $19.7 billion, up from $18.9 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation, with the average expenditure of $146.84, up from $142.31 last year.

“This year, Valentine’s Day will do a little better than normal,” said Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with The NPD Group, a Port Washington market research company, adding restaurants will especially take advantage by offering brunch, lunch and dinner options.

Retailers like Perfumania, a seller of fragrances headquartered in Bellport, expect extra traffic this weekend. The company has 316 stores nationwide, including four on Long Island.

“Valentine’s Day falling on a weekend fares better,” Perfumania stores vice president Kevin McCall said. “The guys will get out on Saturday and get into the stores.”

On average, 3 in 10 people in relationships wait until the last minute to make Valentine’s Day arrangements, according to online coupon provider RetailMeNot.

Mary Alice Meinersman, owner of Bon Bons Chocolatier in Huntington village since 1979, is familiar with procrastinators. To prepare for the rush, she has extended hours this week. The store sells some 50 types of handcrafted chocolates and 30 types of heart-shaped boxes.

“Usually the last three days are the busiest for us,” Meinersman said.

Nearly four in 10 of those celebrating plan to treat their dates to a special experience, whether it be a night out at a restaurant, tickets to a show or a spa service, spending a total of $4.5 billion, according to NRF.

“People are looking to make memories and make connections,” said Danielle Conte, retail consultant and founder of shopping blog based in Centerport.

For couples who prefer to celebrate at home with a romantic meal, Soul Food restaurant Benny B’s in Baldwin will offer takeout specials of red velvet chicken and waffles and teriyaki-flavored red ribs.

“Everything is in red,” said owner Benny Bodley. “We try to do something special because of the day.”

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