Tasha Harrison expected people to like her fresh flowers, but she wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming response folks have had to her mobile flower shop in its first weekend of operation.
Plant Street Flower Cart is the latest business to open in downtown Winter Garden, and it travels to several locations each Friday and Saturday.
“We came out actually on Friday on a photoshoot … with the cart, and as I got set up, I had people coming up to ask if we were selling flowers,” Harrison said. “We were going to be there 30 minutes, and we ended up being there three hours. It was amazing.”
The attention continued even when she was finished taking photos and was on her way home.
“This guy chased us down on foot and asked, ‘Are you selling flowers from your cart? I was just at Crooked Can and on my way home, and is there any way you can make a bouquet so I can be the best boyfriend ever?’ she said.
“I think that just sums up the response of the community and how it has been,” Harrison said.
Plant Street Flower Cart currently sets up Friday evenings at the west end of Centennial Plaza, where the concrete orange crates are stacked, and outside Rosallie Le French Café on Saturday mornings. She said she can park her cart near other businesses that make the request.
“On Saturday, this one woman said, ‘It’s been such a great day to finally get out of my house and spend time with my family, and this was just the icing on the cake to take home some beautiful flowers,’” Harrison said.
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Harrison previously owned a wedding-planning business, so she was familiar with flowers and floral design work. The career was demanding, and after she had her second child last December, she left the company so she could spend more time at home with her daughters.
Earlier this year the family moved to Winter Garden to help plant a church, but those plans were put on hold because of the pandemic. And then she had the idea of starting a flower cart business.
“I feel like it’s really important for kids, and girls especially, to see Mom seeking pursuits elsewhere, even if it’s home, just to have a creative outlet and not lose herself,” Harrison said. “I want them to see that Mom has creative pursuits outside of the house, too, so I thought, ‘What can I do to use my skills from my career from before and still be flexible and be home with them?’”
The idea of the bike-pulled flower cart appealed to her.
“I pitched the idea to my husband, and he said, ‘I can build you a cart,’” Harrison said. “I just thought that’s really cool because it’s mobile, you can take it anywhere, it’s easy to set up and break down, and you don’t have to have a permanent location.”
The white, two-wheeled cart — full of bright and fresh flowers and toting a black-and-white striped umbrella — is pulled by a pale rose-colored bicycle. The commute to work is just a two-block pedal for Harrison.
The Flower Cart’s flowers come from an Orlando wholesaler, who gets them straight from a floral farm. Harrison sells fresh greenery and blooms by the stem.
“They can do one single-stem rose, or they can do a full bouquet, or they can get a bunch of eucalyptus for their house,” Harrison said.
Fall-inspired flowers are currently on the cart; the offerings will change with the seasons. Flowers have different meanings, too, and Harrison can help a customer pick out a bouquet “that’s not just beautiful, but it’s meaningful,” she said.
For the fall, her cart will be filled with flowers such as large sunflowers, mums, snapdragons and several rose varieties.
The holidays are approaching, and Harrison said she is eager to help people with their décor.
“We really want to be able to market for like Thanksgiving centerpieces and Christmas centerpieces and wreaths, and we’ll be posting on our social media sites about ordering those,” she said. “And at the cart, we’ll take email addresses so they can order.”
Her goal, she said, is for her fresh flowers to brighten upcoming family get-togethers.
“We want to help them make it special,” she said.
She hopes the community will come to rely on her for their weekly flower purchases.
“My desire is that people know that I’m going to be out on Plant Street every Friday and Saturday … and they can stop just like they would stop at Publix,” Harrison said. “They will be super fresh and unique, you know different varieties, and they can take them home. And it will be a part of their routine that they can count on.”
If the enterprise continues to do well, she will consider being open Sundays during brunch hours too.
“Right now I want to judge how the flowers and traffic do, and I’m trying to have a work-life balance, so that’s part of the equation,” she said.
“I’m blessed and really thankful,” she said. “I felt like the community needs something like this.”
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.