The new floral and gift shop on Hennepin Avenue began as a pop-up stand on a front lawn near Minnehaha Falls.
“People were knocking on my door when I wasn’t doing it,” said owner Aimee Sherrill. “It’s been the most incredible journey from the glass table in my front yard to this in two years time.”
The Petal Cart outgrew Sherrill’s home last September, when she moved into a brick and mortar space at 2520 Hennepin Ave. Sherrill said the spot previously housed an antique store and once served as a stone and statuary shop where staff carved gravestones — the statues on the patio are holdovers from that era.
This winter, she’s setting up a tree lot with wreaths and garlands alongside the building. She’s also envisioning perennial plant swaps and a crafter’s market during warmer months, as well as workshops for arranging personal planters.
“I want to really open it to the neighborhood because it’s such a great space,” she said.
The store is available for showers and private parties. Sherrill recently hosted a children’s tea party, where her reluctant nine-year-old son sported a bow tie and helped with tea service.
Sherrill said she hopes the store can provide a colorful destination during the winter.
“You can come and be in a place full of life, color and smell,” she said.
“Oh does it smell good in here,” said one recent walk-in customer.
The Petal Cart stocks locally-sourced flowers whenever possible, as well as tropical flowers from around the world, with Leucadendron from Israel and a variety of orchids.
“I try to be as conscientious as I can with my handling and with water,” Sherrill said. “I treat flowers in such a way that they last longer.”
She aims to serve all customers spanning the small studios and large mansions within a mile of the shop.
“I want everyone to be able to afford flowers,” she said.
She designs planters with a mix of fresh and living flowers — an arrangement she made for neighbor Julia Moss Designs is at seven weeks and counting.
“I can do installations with quite a bit of longevity,” she said.
Additional products include candles made in Bloomington, body products made in Northfield, goat milk soaps from Farmington, and beaded insects and herbal heat packs made by a local entomologist.
Sherrill’s mother Jo Anne died as she was starting the pop-up shop, and the store is filled with antiques that belonged to her and her grandmother.
“Life is short,” Sherrill said. “You could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and the only thing that wouldn’t happen is going after your dreams. There is no reward if you don’t take any risk.”
Sherrill quit a day job to pursue the business full-time; she studied botany and has worked with flowers for about 20 years.
“I can always go back to a desk job,” she said. “This is something I can really pour my heart and soul into. And it will bloom, literally.”