For about an hour and a half on Thursday, florist Steve Papoulakos said, “I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
Papoulakos, co-owner and president of Vogue Flowers & Gifts and the Flower Market by Vogue, was under stress when the phones at the company’s headquarters stopped working late Thursday morning — two days before Valentine’s Day.
The outage lasted about an hour an a half, he said. By 1 p.m., the phones were back up and staffers were taking orders at the company’s headquarters at 1114 N. Boulevard in Richmond.
“It’s the biggest day of the year for us,” Papoulakos said. “We expect about 1,000 orders.”
He said his telephone and Internet service — both through Comcast — were out at the same time at the Boulevard location.
Comcast released a statement Thursday afternoon. “We’ve reached out to Mr. Papoulakos to apologize personally,” the statement read, “and to let him know that we’re actively investigating the issue and will take actions to prevent this from happening again.”
Vogue Flowers has six locations in and around Richmond, including shops in Ashland and Colonial Heights. Phones and Internet continued to work at the other five locations.
Papoulakos said his staff will take orders by telephone until about 9 p.m. today.
He said even orders made late Friday can be delivered on Valentine’s Day — “as long as we have the flowers.”
Papoulakos said he expects to have enough roses to fill all orders for that flower. But he said that because of a mix-up with a supplier, Vogue might run short of tulips.