Mai Nguyen bought four bouquets at the Curbside Chronicle pop-up shop even before the organization had all of its display in place in the Plaza District Friday.
“These are really beautiful flowers,” she told Free Press. “I’m going to use them for a gal-entines party I’m hosting with my girlfriends tonight.”
But it wasn’t just about getting a few steps ahead in her preparations for the weekend.
“It’s for a great cause, too. I really want to support Curbside Chronicle.”
And with a smile, she started texting one of her friends about the get.
Friday, Curbside vendors in their signature greens smocks started selling flowers along with the popular magazine.
When we arrived mid-morning Friday, Curbside Chronicle director Ranya O’Connor was showing one of their vendors how to fold the decorative paper around a bouquet.
Curbside Chronicle is Oklahoma City’s magazine, called a “street paper,” sold by trained vendors in a program designed to help them work their way out of homelessness and into a more stable, productive life.
The former Tree and Leaf shop space near NW 16th Street and Blackwelder is the assembly area for the bouquets to be sold by their vendors on street corners around the city through Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.
Small bouquets are sold for $12, medium for $40 and large bouquets for $95.
The other pop-up shop is in the lobby of Leadership Square office building downtown at 211 N. Robinson.
Curbside Chronicle vendor Robert Hosford, Jr. is well-known around the corner of N. Walker and main in downtown OKC, but for the next several days he has a unique venue.
Through Valentine’s Day, visitors will see him there in his green smock selling flowers and the Curbside Chronicle.
One of the sponsors of the flower sale, Fowler Toyota, has loaned a vintage pickup to be parked in the lobby of the office building as an eye-catching home base for the effort.
Friday morning, the pickup bed was full of bouquets already ordered online.
“People will pick them up sometime today,” said Hosford. “I put these arrangements together myself. It was fun learning how to do it.”
“We are all for Curbside Chronicle and this effort,” said Jennifer Knotts, Marketing Relations Coordinator for the busy office building.
Free Press asked her why they were hosting that effort.
“It’s great aesthetics for us, and it shows our support for the community.”
And then, with a big smile, she continued to shop for a bouquet to take to her fiance.
O’Connor said one of their sponsors, The Plant Shoppe, has designed different sizes of bouquets for the sale and then posted step-by-step instructions in the assembly shop so that vendors can actually assemble their own bouquets to sell on the street that day.
“I just love the mission of The Curbside Chronicle and saw an opportunity to help them provide new economic opportunities to people who are experiencing homelessness,” said Jen Semmler in a prepared statement.
“People who are homeless are people just like you and me – they have value, skills, and potential. I’ve loved teaching them how to arrange flowers and help them work their way towards a more stable future.”
The campaign is being made possible by sponsors including Fowler Automotive, the Cresap Family Foundation, Loves Travel Stops and Country Stores, the Plant Shoppe and Oklahoma Flower Market.