On a Wednesday afternoon near the end of 2020, the words blurted out of Shannon Cordovano’s mouth while she sat at the kitchen table with her husband.
“I’m quitting my job on Friday, OK?” she said. They both had their heads in their computers on another day of working from home together. But that surprise statement caused him to look up.
Cordovano assured him, saying, “We’ll figure it out.”
And that was that.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, Cordovano quit her job as an executive assistant in Colorado Springs, leaving behind years of office jobs in cities around the country and, financially, taking a leap of faith.
She had no idea what was next.
As she said, it was time to make a change after the “hell on wheels that was 2020.”
“I just felt in my bones that there was something else out there for me and I didn’t know it was,” Cordovano, 57, said.
“I just knew I wanted to do something that was going to make me smile and make other people smile.”
Beyond the desire to spread positivity, her mind was blank. She’d lay awake at night brainstorming ideas for a new career, thinking, “If I want to do something that makes me happy, then what makes me happy?”
Something with animals, she thought. Or maybe with kids. Or maybe helping people somehow.
Then one word popped into her mind: flowers.
Cordovano thought about how her love for flowers and how that love has kept growing. She thought about her grandmother’s flower garden in Yakima, Wash., and helping arrange flowers in every vase around the house. She thought about visits to San Francisco, where she’d gawk at the flower carts, but rarely buy the flowers because of the high price tag.
She thought about her wedding flowers, which included Virginia roses, inspired by her middle name. She thought about how her husband still buys those for their wedding anniversary each year.
And that was that.
“I knew it was going to be the thing that put a smile on my face,” she said.
Cordovano spent the next months building her plan. She searched “flower trucks” on Google and modeled her vision off the Pinterest-worthy images that came up.
She bought a Volkswagen truck from California and renovated it. She found a local flower wholesaler and designed a chalkboard to say, “Fresh Flowers.”
And in late May, Cordovano parked it on Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs and opened the Orange Blossom Flower Truck.
Yes, she says, it was scary to take the risk. But then came a sign from her very first sale.
A young couple stopped by. They were on their way to the hospital to start having a baby by in vitro fertilization. He bought her flowers.
“All three of us shed a tear,” Cordovano said. “I feel like I was in the right place at the right time.”
Already, her flowers have helped another couple celebrate their 30th anniversary. One man has stopped four times to buy flowers for his wife. Others buy an arrangement, which is done on site by Cordovano, just because. One passerby didn’t buy anything, but said, “This is so delightful. Thank you for making my day better.”
Cordovano gets it.
“It affects me the same way,” she said. “Flowers and the charm of the truck make you smile and make you happy and make you, for a moment, forget all the crap.”
When she stands by her truck, Cordovano feels like she’s already achieved her goal. She brightens people’s days and her own days, as she might sneak a sniff of a rose or just take in all the colors.
“I think there was always something flower-related in my soul,” she said. “I just needed to dig it out.”
And, as flower trucks appear to grow in popularity, she keeps getting good signs for the future. Like, how she named her business Orange Blossom before she even bought the truck because orange is her favorite color.
“And then the truck we found was orange,” she said. “I feel like it was meant to be.”