The new flower van from Backyard Blooms (credit: Felicia LaLomia).
When it comes to mobile businesses, first we had the ice cream truck. Then the food truck and mobile bars. Now, flowers are on the move. Three different Long Island flower companies have taken their business on the road, turning an old truck or van into a store front that will go anywhere, the North Fork included.
For Kim Barnes, owner of Backyard Blooms, converting a 1978 VW Westfalia meant her business could go beyond the roadside flower stand she started last year from her home. She spotted the van a year and a half ago on Facebook Marketplace and instantly became obsessed.
“I was in love with it, obviously,” she said. “No questions asked, I wanted it.” She bought the VW bus before she even officially launched Backyard Blooms. Now, her plan is to sell flowers out of it at different spots on the North Fork for pop-up events. Her first stop will be Terra Vite Vineyard, which has its grand opening on Memorial Day weekend at the former site of Diliberto Vineyards in Jamesport.
“We’ll do workshops,” she said. “We might do a little pop up class once a month — wine pairing and flower arranging.”
There are two other flower trucks you may see around the North Fork. Wyndy Sloan of Short Stems bought a truck from an oyster farmer in 2018 and sells her flowers out the window, food-truck style.
“My truck is definitely my happy place,” she said. “I’m surrounded by flowers, good tunes and get to meet lots of new people. Most people buying flowers are purchasing them for a friend or loved one, or they want to brighten up their home. It’s very fun to work with local growers in the community to do this.”
You won’t hear a playful tune when Sloan drives by, but you can find her on Main Road across from the North Fork Animal Hospital every Friday. Here, she sells three bouquet sizes — small, medium and large — out of mason jars and upcycled bean cans after donating the contents to CAST’s food pantry. Having a truck also allows Sloan to provide flowers at events like pop-ups, showers and parties.
Slightly smaller than an ice cream truck or VW van, but just as adorable, is the Hometown Flower Co. 1976 baby blue Ford F-100 pickup truck. As an alternative to a store front, husband and wife co-owners Marc Iervolino and Jaclyn Rutigliano knew the truck would allow them to support local farmers all over Long Island by being more mobile.
“Knowing that we were going to be mission-driven and wanting to show people the beauty that grows right in our hometowns, the concept of a flower truck would allow us to bring the flowers to the people,” Rutigliano said. “We didn’t know if people would find us, so we wanted to meet them wherever they were.”
Now, they do pop-ups, workshops, private events, DIY flower bars and more with their “Baby Blue” truck, named after the color and sporting a custom black-and-white striped awning over the bed.
“Flower trucks have been booming across the country for several years,” Rutigliano said. “Now, coming out of COVID, we are seeing the interest to have something unique, Instagram-worthy, and experiential continue to rise and flower trucks are a great way to do it.”