Not everyone takes business advice from a 9-year-old but that’s exactly what happened when I decided to buy Bell and Trunk Flowers. In 2008 I was an unemployed journalist looking for a new challenge when my daughter, Elise, and I stopped in front of our neighborhood flower shop and read the “for sale” sign in the window. We pictured the advantages of being in charge of something creative and making it our own, joining the ranks of the blossoming Potrero/Dogpatch merchant community and getting to know our customers through the abundant reasons people buy flowers. Since then we’ve weathered a recession, seen a variety of businesses come and go, watched our neighborhood grow while the rents skyrocket, and made lifelong friends with many of our customers and those who frequent 18th Street.
All the while, Bell and Trunk has morphed from a modest shoebox full of flowers that catered mostly to walk-ins and neighborhood deliveries into a bustling business spanning the Bay Area and beyond. On any given day we may be travelling to Wine Country for a wedding, making weekly deliveries to nearby businesses, decorating Architectural Digest-worthy homes, donating our services to local organizations, dropping off a little arrangement on a Potrero Hill doorstep, or putting together a sweet bouquet in the shop for date night. We continue to add to our growing list of occasions: Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, Passover, Christmas, as well as countless weddings, birthdays, funerals, lost pets, grand openings, open houses, anniversaries, promotions, new babies, and my favorite, “just because”. And Bell and Trunk always celebrates the Highest of Holy Days on a florist’s calendar– Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
One thing has remained the same though the years: We love to work with people and learn their stories. During the recession, the loyal Potrero Hill community kept us afloat. Today we still rely on those who strive to support local independent businesses. While we’re still trying to balance managing a store-front and handling deliveries while making it to the parent-teacher conference on time, we are truly grateful to those who make it a point to support us. But who can resist our little block? Between Chez Maman, Ruby Wine, Provender and Bell and Trunk, we’ve got everything one would need right here to make any occasion special.