Rolling On

Petals to the People brightens days with flower bouquets

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ERIN ELLSWORTH is growing like the flowers she sells. She and her business, Petals to the People, are thriving both artistically and geographically, and she credits her environment for her growth.

Known as the “flower girl” when she worked at various markets for Castle Hayne Farm when she was in her twenties, Ellsworth dreamed of running a flower bus. She and her husband, Eli, bought a mini-activity bus and recreated it into her grooving green mobile boutique, then COVID hit. With events coming to a standstill, Ellsworth switched it up.

“My buddy at Alcove Beer Garden suggested getting one of the containers, offer flowers by the stem, so I had to go with the flow,” Ellsworth explains. “I decided to pivot and start doing arrangements and deliveries.”

The container community in the Cargo District was the perfect fit for Ellsworth to create her, what she termed, “beespoke” bouquets and offered a space for “what it was supposed to be.” It became a hit, and she quickly outgrew her initial container.

Ellsworth’s “flower-powered” boutique recently moved into a larger location to provide more retail space, seasonal bouquets, and subscription services to her customers. The flower bus that started this adventure is still available for parties and pop-ups.

The unique, locally sourced designs of Ellsworth’s creative hands are a perfect pairing with the one-of-a-kind, hand-picked selections for her retail space.

“I run with what I like. The whole store evolved with merchandise that I want for me! It is eclectic, a little bit funky, and it just rolled with the flowers, if that makes sense,” Ellsworth says.

The larger shop also has a sliding glass cooler to keep flowers in stock with ready-made bouquets.

“I just turn on the music and it’s whatever I am in the mood for. I have fun with it, there is no pressure. I don’t have to do it, I just love to do it. It is an escape and a release for myself and it always has been for me,” Ellsworth describes. “Artistically, I am growing and every day is a new experience for me.”

The way that Ellsworth describes the community of the Cargo District, it sounds like there is a symbiotic relationship between the businesses.

“We are not in it for ourselves, we are in it for each other. You scratch my back, I will scratch yours, and we are all getting our backs scratched, doesn’t that feel good?” Ellsworth says. “We are all getting our game on and excited about it. I got in at the right time to this awesome sense of community where we are all comfortable and happy with each other.”

Ellsworth is excited to share her new space with the public and continue growing as an artist and business owner in her shared community.

“I want to grow into the shop at this point and be around for people to come in and order. I am just going where it takes me and do what I have been doing, rolling with the punches.”

To view more of photographer Michael Cline Spencer’s work, go to

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Categories: Culture