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Chapel Hill and Carrboro businesses see increased traffic on Valentine's Day

Red velvet cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries filled Sugarland's Valentine's themed cupcake display .

If there’s one group of people that love doesn’t hurt on Valentine’s Day, it’s Chapel Hill and Carrboro business owners.

Local businesses have been busy preparing for the rush of couples who will flock to downtown today to celebrate the evening — or buy that last minute gift.

Carrboro has declared February Love Month, and the town’s businesses are holding specials throughout.

As one of the month’s festivities, The Station at Southern Rail will hold a “For the Love of Carrboro” speed dating event today.

And Susan Rice, visitor center coordinator at the Chapel Hill/ Orange County Visitor’s Bureau, said many Chapel Hill businesses will also offer specials and serve extra customers.

Tommy O’Connell, manager of the 411 West Italian Cafe, said he’s expecting increased business. But because the crowd will come in pairs, he said he anticipates service will remain steady.

“Although Valentine’s Day is busy, it’s less hectic than big basketball nights,” he said. “Tables of two are definitely easier than larger groups of people.”

Rice said many local hotels — including The Carolina Inn and The Siena Hotel — hold Valentine’s Day specials and have higher occupancy around the holiday.

The Carolina Inn will offer different romance-themed packages with special food service and other options, according to their website.

The Siena Hotel on East Franklin Street is also running special hotel room offers for couples. Il Palio, the hotel’s adjoining Italian restaurant, will serve a special Valentine’s Day menu.

And Nick Richardson, manager of Sugarland Bakery in Chapel Hill, said Valentine’s Day is one of the bakery’s most profitable days.

“Last year Valentine’s Day was the single busiest day of our year,” he said.

In honor of the holiday, Richardson said Sugarland will offer an array of Valentine’s Day-themed cupcakes, chocolate-covered strawberries and cake options for last-minute gifts.

He said they have also scheduled extra staff for Tuesday night in anticipation of Valentine’s Day crowds.

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