TEXT BY MICHAELA CAVALLARO
PHOTOS BY SIENNA CLOUGH
Charlee Charron thought she had her side hustle figured out: She would sell cut flowers grown on her property in rural Falmouth while continuing to work her day job for a catalog company. Last January, she took an intensive online class offered by Washington flower grower Floret. But when it ended, “I said, I don’t think this is for me,” Charron remembers, noting what she’d learned about high startup costs and low profit margins.
A few weeks later, a friend tagged her on a Nashville flower-truck-owner’s Instagram post and Charron’s wheels started turning. “I was like, that’s exactly what I need to be doing,” she says. Like food trucks, flower trucks are mobile shops that pop up at breweries, farmers’ markets, and other spots where pedestrians might stop for DIY bouquets. Unlike food trucks, they’re something of an anomaly in Maine. Charron ordered a 1961 Ford Econoline from a Minnesota antiques dealer. Her boyfriend and his dad built out the back to accommodate buckets of blooms and greenery, and Rambler Flower Truck — named in honor of Charron’s grandmother, who loved rambling roses — was open for business.
ABOVE Charlee Charron, of Falmouth, sells flowers by the stem out of her 1961 Ford Econoline, decorated with decals she designed. We found her parked in front of Portland’s Bird & Co. restaurant.
Last spring and summer, Charron parked at Portland restaurant Bird & Co. and bar Après. She sourced most of her stems from Falmouthtown Flower Co., supplemented by spring trips to the Boston Flower Market and high-season additions from Buxton’s Snell Family Farm and Scarborough’s Broadturn Farm. She also grew her own dahlias. One early lesson: While she appreciates a delicate cosmos or Anemone dahlia, customers tend to gravitate toward showier specimens, such as sunflowers and lilies. They were also sometimes more hesitant to assemble their own bouquets than she expected. “I’ve started telling everybody who comes up that there’s no right or wrong way to do it,” she says. “Whatever you make is going to be beautiful because flowers are beautiful. And if it brings you joy, who cares what anyone else thinks?”