Whittier’s mobile flower shop

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On April 18 at 4:30 a.m., under the cover of rain-spattered darkness, the Log Cabin Flower Shop slowly made its way from its home at 2000 First Ave. down Nicollet Ave. toward its new digs at Old Arizona Studios.

Since log cabins in general (and this flower shop in particular) are incapable of self-contained perambulation, it was necessary to load the structure onto a flatbed and trundle it down the usually busy street. The log-cabin/flatbed duo was accompanied by several construction vehicles (with safety-lights blazing) as well as by a team of professional movers. This made quite a strange-looking caravan for anyone who happened to be up at the ungodly hour. The move went smoothly and the quaint little shop is safely resting on its flatbed in the driveway of its new home while the foundations upon which it will ultimately sit are finished. But how did all this come to pass?

A year ago, The Log Cabin Flower Shop seemed destined for physical destruction. As CVS finalized its plans to build a pharmacy/condo development at the intersection of Franklin and First Avenue, it seemed the cabin would go the way of so many other historical buildings in the Twin Cities. But Marian Biehn of the Whittier Alliance stepped up and sent out a call to local businesses to see if somehow the shop could be saved.

Recognizing the quirky historical importance of the shop (it has been continuously owned and operated by women ever since it was built in 1945), Biehn was delighted when Darcy Knight and Elizabeth Trumble of Old Arizona Studios expressed an interest in the building. According to Trumble, they beat out other local businesses, including the Waldorf Schoo,which wanted to put it in their playground, largely because they moved the quickest to fill out the appropriate paperwork to allow the move to happen. Also in their favor was the fact that they planned to continue to use the space as a flower shop, though it will function as a flower shop of an altogether new and different sort. It will be used as a training center to teach neighborhood girls important life skills.

In addition to managing Old Arizona, Knight and Trumble run a nonprofit program for teen girls. As part of this program they plan to hire a florist and a small-business guru to teach young women how the art of flower arrangement as well as how to run a business. They recognized that the shop would be the perfect place to launch such a program. So in its old age, the Log Cabin Flower Shop will be transformed into a “training ground” of sorts for a new generation of Whittier entrepreneurs. But, according to Trumble all this is going to take hard work…and money.

The foundation for the shop is still unfinished. Even after this happens and the cabin is placed on top, electricity and water will need to be hooked up. And the aforementioned florist and business guru will need to be hired. In short, the program needs financial support. If you would like to contribute to this worthy endeavor please call Darcy Knight at 612/871-0050, or stop by Old Arizona. And if you do stop by be sure to sample the pumpkin spice scones available in their café. They are quite tasty.

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