Edmonton

She drives a tiny flower truck, and business is blooming

Laura Crawley is hauling some unusual summer cargo in her tiny turquoise truck.

'I've had this in my dream box for quite a few years now'

Laura Crawley is the founder of the Little Flower Truck, a florist shop on wheels. (Tara McCarthy/CBC)

Laura Crawley is hauling some unusual summer cargo in her tiny turquoise truck.

The canvas-covered flatbed of her vintage Subaru Mini is full of freshly-cut flowers — roses, gerbera daisies, peonies and sage — all ready to be arranged into made-to-order bouquets for roadside customers. 

Crawley is the founder of a new mobile business called The Little Flower Truck Co.

After acquiring her rig on Kijiji, Crawley hit the streets of the Edmonton area for the first time in May. Her entire flatbed of flora sold out in a matter of hours. 

"It's just brand new and it's kind of taken off running," Crawley said. "Everything just fell into place."

'People love it'

Crawley's business is technically based in her home community of Beaumont but the truck allows her to park her business at events across the Edmonton area.

The flower shop is becoming a regular at farmers markets and craft fairs. 
The truck is fully loaded with flowers ready to be cut and arranged for customers. (Tara McCarthy)

Crawley said the response to her business has been amazing. Customers flag her down on the street.

"People love it," she said. "You drive down the road and people wave frantically at you out their windows." 

Along with food trucks, flower trucks have been hitting the streets across North America in recent years, serving up made-to-order floral arrangements.

Crawley, 42, believes she is the first one to capitalize on the idea in Edmonton.

"I had taken a photo of one of these trucks from down South and kept it in my phone for five years," Crawley said.

"I've had this in my dream box for quite a few years now and just decided that now is the time to put it into play." 

She has no formal training as a florist. A former stay-at home mom to her three children, she spent seven years working as a secretary at a local elementary school.

After a string of family illnesses and mishaps last year, Crawley felt overwhelmed and craved change.

Then she realized being a florist on the move was her dream job.

"You really try to sit back and try to figure out things that really make you tick, the things that you really love.

"If you could pick anything in the world to do, what would those things be? For a long time, it was really hard to make that list. 

"And then I came across that picture and I thought, 'You know what? I think I'm ready to try this.'"

 

It just makes people smile, which was exactly what I needed.- Laura Crawley

 

Shortly after, Crawley quit her steady job at the school, found the perfect tiny truck for sale in Lacombe, and hit the road. 

Selling flowers by the stem or bouquet out of her flatbed has been a challenge, Crawley said.

She had to customize the truck's bed to ensure the flowers are well protected from the elements and don't wilt en route. Some varieties fare better on the road than others.  

But business appears to be blooming and it's a rewarding job. 

The perfect bloom bring can brighten a home or a bad mood, Crawley said. 

And that's why she got into the business. To spread a little happiness.

"It gives me more than I give to it," she said. 

"It just makes people smile, which was exactly what I needed and I think what everybody needs."