Historic Log Cabin Flowers building gets makeover

Renamed 29th Street Petal Pushers, the revamped shop is intended to teach neighborhood girls employment skills

WHITTIER — An old Southwest flower shop is getting a fresh start with a complete makeover and a mission beyond what its name implies.  

At 29th Street Petal Pushers, a quaint log cabin built at Franklin and 1st avenues in 1945 and moved a few years ago to 29th Street and Nicollet Avenue, the focus is on teaching entrepreneurial skills to young women from the local community. It’s the latest venture for Darcy Knight and Elizabeth Trumble, co-founders of the youth program at neighborhood theater and café, Old Arizona.

The duo bought the former Log Cabin Flowers building in 2006, following a community cry to save the structure from demolition. They moved it to the Old Arizona site, but couldn’t find the resources to do anything with it until this year, when community members and volunteers from Excelsior-based Lake Country Builders united to give the log cabin an extreme makeover. Sue Jacobson, part owner of Lake Country Builders, helped pitch the idea of restoring the building to different organizations that would be able to donate their services or materials to assist with the renovations.

“That’s when the troops rallied,” Knight said.

From Oct. 13–15, the building was given a complete facelift while still keeping the original wooden logs intact. Other fixes included a new roof, tile flooring, doorframes and window replacements. New insulation and heat were also added to the cabin to ensure that it was up to city regulations. Positioned next to the rustic Old Arizona building, the log cabin fits right in.

The goal of 29th Street Petal Pushers is to run a retail flower shop in the refurbished log cabin that will give the young women in the youth program a chance to learn entrepreneurial skills needed to run a small business. The flower shop also plans to feature arrangements made by the young women, though all proceeds will go toward funding the youth program. But until the necessary funding is raised, the building will first function as a classroom teaching the young women the art of floral design.

This course will be integrated with the after-school schedule, which holds classes Wednesday through Friday and Saturday mornings. Other lessons include hip-hop dance and choreography, fashion design, yoga and kickboxing.

The age range of the young women is anywhere from 13 to 17 and any teenager is eligible to join, but most come from single-parent houses of low income or poverty. This curriculum is intended to help fill the self-assurance void in the participants’ lives.

“We are the cheerleaders for their dreams,” Trumble said.

Ultimately, Knight and Trumble want to build an add-on to the back of the log cabin to facilitate a brand new classroom for the girls, and run the flower shop in front of the building in the original old log cabin.

The new concept of 29th Street Petal Pushers, integrated with the bygone Log Cabin Flower shop, has paved another way for Knight and Trumble to empower young women through artistic expression, something they’ve been doing at Old Arizona for decades.  

“We want them to leave here with the confidence knowing that they can do whatever they aspire to do,” Knight said.