Can't Buy My Love

But Locally-Purchased Valentine’s Day Presents Probably Won’t Hurt

Posted: February 12, 2013

Ellen Miller of Harrisonburg walks from her job at Bridgewater College to purchase supplies at Randy’s Do It Best Hardware in Bridgewater. Manager Christian Herrick says the store sees plenty of Valentine’s Day shoppers, mostly for husbands, boyfriends and fathers. (Photo by Aimee George / DN-R Features)
Each year, Don Link of Mount Sidney picks up a Valentine’s Day card for his wife at Ruth’s Book and Cards in Bridgewater. (Photo by Aimee George / DN-R Features)
A ladder leveler — although not particularly romantic — is a perfect Valentine’s Day gift, according to Christian Herrick, manager at Randy’s Do It Best Hardware in Bridgewater.

“We get a lot of people looking for gifts,” he explains, laughingly adding that one customer purchased the leveler for her husband — an unusual, unique, yet functional Valentine’s Day present.

Herrick says that the shop tends to get a lot of female customers gift buying for their husbands or fathers.

Breaking Tradition ...  Not Hearts
Valentine’s gifts do not have to be traditional items or given to only a significant other to be appreciated.

“A bouquet in a bucket,” though not a traditional floral offering, is the gift idea that Chelsea Gardner, a sociology student at Bridgewater College, has for Valentine’s Day. “I would get a bucket or a pail and fill it with candy and snacks like beef jerky, maybe some tools — more manly things,” she says.

Red roses — seeming to be the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. Cristy Rainey, owner of Cristy’s Floral Designs in Bridgewater says that many women buy them for their husbands.“Sometimes, the men may want something more masculine that will go in their office, but some buy roses, too,” says Rainey.

Although most Valentine’s advertisements are marketed toward men buying gifts for their wives or girlfriends, Rainey says that her “women customers will buy gifts for other women, like their mothers and sisters, and the men mainly think about their girlfriend or wife.”

According to Rainey, “Valentine’s doesn’t have to be just on Valentine’s Day — buying year-round is always a fun gift.”

Hometown Devotion
Some continue to not only show loyalty and devotion to their significant other, but also to their favorite local shops. Don Link, of Mount Sydney buys his wife a Valentine’s Day card at Ruth’s Books and Cards in Bridgewater, every year explaining “My wife thinks this is a wonderful place; she comes all the time and sends me occasionally — I just get whatever strikes me.”

 “I go out of my way to come here for gifts and cards,” says Debrah Mitchell of Mount Crawford, as she peruses the aisles at Ruth’s. “I don’t go to [chain stores] for special gifts; [Ruth] marks things down, so you can really get good deals,” adds Mitchell.

With another holiday usually just around the corner and several grandchildren to buy for, Mitchell says there is always a reason to visit the store, and often buys extra cards and items “just to have on hand.”

So, whether a gift is ordinary or extraordinary; unique or traditional; functional or extravagant — shopping local allows the gift giving experience to be two gifts in one.

Contact Aimee George at (540) 574-6292 or