Inspired by the upscale food-truck boom taking place in the early 2010s, Jenifer Kaplan decided to follow the lead of those offering culinary delights on wheels — but with a decorative twist.
“The idea just kind of popped into my head one day. I was in-spired by the creativity of all the food trucks, but I didn’t want to do food,” Kaplan said.
Based in Los Angeles, The Flower Truck is “a full-service flower shop on wheels,” according to Kaplan. The Flower Truck started to roll in 2011 with a single truck. Kaplan has since expanded to a fleet of two retrofitted vehicles. She plies her floral wares in Los Angeles’ Westside neighborhoods, as well as in in the San Fernando Valley, Palm Desert, and elsewhere in Southern California.
Kaplan runs The Flower Truck by herself, on a part-time basis. Developing the Truck
For the initial Flower Truck, Kaplan purchased a 1970 Dodge truck — formerly a postal vehicle — for $1,000 on Craigslist. The truck “required all sorts of work, from the radiator to tires to everything,” according to Kaplan. While it required a bit more TLC, this flagship vehicle is still rolling along.
Later, Kaplan purchased a 1974 Chevrolet P20 — formerly an ice cream truck — that has not had as many mechanical problems, due to being “much better maintained” prior to Kaplan’s purchase of it, she said.
For both gasoline-powered vehicles, Kaplan had retrofitting done by professional mechanics. The P20 was retrofitted by Rony’s Car Pros, a shop in Culver City, Calif.
“I had to retrofit the side opening to create enough space for the counter. The side opening was tiny, so I had to expand the size of it. I also built a rack to hold all of the flower buckets inside,” Kaplan said. “Once these retrofits were done, it was pretty easy to execute.”
In addition, Kaplan’s friend, Shan Crawford, created the graphics used on both vehicles.
Kaplan hopes to expand her fleet of trucks in the future. And, she has simple advice for those looking to start a truck-based business: “Don’t buy too old of a truck.”