By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Florists across the Sacramento area say customers should expect higher prices this Mother’s Day.

The phone is ringing off the hook at Relles Florist in Midtown Sacramento on Tuesday.

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“We need help,” said Owner Jim Relles. “I’ve been pleading with my friends trying to find a few more people for Mother’s Day.”

Relles says he’s looking for a few more employees to meet the Mother’s Day rush with business now up 40 percent.

“Which is great and wonderful, but it’s a nerve-wrack this week if we’re going to be able to handle everything,” said Relles.

All but three of his 18 employees have returned. But now he has to pay more after a minimum wage increase – and then there’s higher gas prices and other pandemic-related issues.

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“All those factors into play, prices have to go up. We have to make a profit,” said Relles.

Relles says tighter COVID-19 restrictions in South America have caused a bouquet of issues.

“Carnations are coming from South America, Colombia and Ecuador,” Relles said. “They had COVID restrictions on the amount of hours workers could leave their homes, so that caused logistic issues.”

Relles is hoping he doesn’t run out of flowers like he did last year – or have anyone call out sick.

“I’ll be out delivering again to get it done. Whatever it takes. Maybe I’ll get my wife down here,” Relles said with a chuckle.

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Florists expect the higher prices to continue to blossom over the summer.