BY Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Ann Barker had a “fantastic” career in corporate events and marketing. The COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that.
In November 2020, Barker founded Annie’s Flower Truck, a pop-up business in a 1964 VW Single Cab bus that sells fresh blooms from November to April.
“Think a mobile flower market featuring fresh flowers and greens displayed in galvanized market buckets,” Barker says outside of Optima Sonoran Village in North Scottsdale.
Flowers vary at each event, with unique blooms sharing the truck with traditional favorites, all of which are priced by the stem. After guests purchase the stems and create their own bouquet, flowers are wrapped to carry home or present.
“It’s something different every week,” says Barker, who delivered the Scottsdale Progress as a teen. The Scottsdale Progress is the sister publication of Lovin’ Life After 50.
“We try to find things that aren’t common, that you don’t see when you go to a chain. People get to pick their own.”
Those include imported peonies, hellebore, astrantia and hydrangeas.
The truck’s locations can be found at anniesflowertruck.com and on social media at @anniesflowertruck. The vehicle doesn’t have air conditioning, so she doesn’t sell flowers in the summer, except during evening private events.
Barker sees a correlation between the events and marketing field and selling flowers.
“What I loved about that was creating experiences for people and doing things for them that would be memorable,” Barker says. “I was looking for an alternative. We did some research, and we couldn’t find anything like that in Phoenix.
“Every time we pop up, it’s like a mini event. We’re doing things to bring people joy. Flowers make people happy.”
An Arizona native, Barker is a longtime flower lover. She grew roses at her home and was an award-winning rosarian. She parlays that knowledge into helping her customers.
“They walk up to the truck and they will say, ‘I can’t do this. You build it for me,’” Barker recalls. “I ask them what catches their eye, just pick a flower and go from there. One of the fabulous things is we have men who walk up and say they can’t do it. I say, ‘Go for it.’ They create the bravest bouquets. They don’t overthink it.
“It’s so enjoyable. The truck attracts people. It’s beautiful. We’ve had people stop, literally, in tears during the pandemic saying this is exactly what they needed today. People are going through a lot.”