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Staff photo, Brooke Self
Dimetria Elliott stands with her Valentine's Day purchases at the Walmart parking lot in Barstow.

Valentine's Day is big business

Money changing hands locally, nationally

By the numbers:

$130.97 - average amount spent per person

$ 175.61- average amount spent by men

$88.78- average amount spent by women

$18.6 billion- expected total spending

51% - will buy candy

36.6%- will give flowers

19.7%- will buy jewelry

60% - will buy gifts for family members

25.2% - for friends

13.2% - for co-workers

20%- for pets

Source: National Retail Federation 2013 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey

BARSTOW • Gina Vasquez and her friend sat on Main Street selling Valentine’s Day teddy bears and balloons for over five hours on Wednesday.

“It’s really slow. The people don’t want to buy. It’s going to be better tomorrow — we hope,” Vasquez said.

Hello Kitty stuffed toys and various white teddy bears ranging from $10 to $35 lined the table downtown. The two said they weren’t pocketing any of the money, but raising funds for The Foursquare Church in Barstow.

A survey conducted for the National Retail Federation said total spending on Valentine’s Day nationwide is expected to reach $18.6 billion, with the average person spending $130.97. Men were expected to spend an average of $175.61 and women were expected to spend $88.78 on average.

Dimetria Elliott of Barstow said she was buying cologne for her boyfriend and spending $40. She was also spotted at Walmart buying two balloons for her 17-year-old son.

“They’re for his two ‘best friends,’ ” she said.

Robert Lewis of Barstow said he was planning to spend $130 on flowers and dinner for his girlfriend of two years.

“Valentine’s Day is an extra day to show your love for your loved one,” Lewis said. “You show your love all year — but it’s an extra special day because it’s tradition.”

One couple in the Walmart parking lot said they planned to have dinner at the Idle Spurs Steakhouse, although reservations at the restaurant were limited.

Idle Spurs General Manager Brenda Comb said the holiday is one of their busiest of the year and that reservations between the 5 and 8 p.m. time slots were filled as of Wednesday evening.

“Mother’s Day is the busiest and then it’s New Year’s and Valentine’s Day,” she said. “It’s mostly a couples’ holiday and we usually run a special.”

Visit to see more results of the Valentine’s Day Spending Survey conducted for NRF by BIGinsight.

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