Helena’s Petal Cart: more than just a flower shop

the petal cart helena
The Petal Cart in Old Town Helena. Photo via Claire Hancock for Bham Now

In iconic Old Town Helena, The Petal Cart is a staple business. Opened by Lee Lee Gaisert and her daughter Kayla Ellis, the flower and gift shop features lovely arrangements, excellent service and a heartwarming story.

How it started

Owner Lee Lee Gaisert originally had no desire to start a flower shop. She opened her business with her daughter, Kayla Ellis, selling home décor and silk flowers. But after things took a downhill turn, Gaisert found many people asking for orders of live flowers.

As Gaisert explains it,

“We did not open to be a florist; we opened to be home décor and to do silk flower arrangements for your house, wreaths and bows. Within a few months, I looked at Kayla and I said ‘this isn’t working and it’s about to be sink or swim, and I am not willing to sink.’ I said ‘we’re going to take that leap of faith, we’re going to order flowers and we’re just going to try it.’

Lee Lee Gaisert

And so The Petal Cart was born. Gaisert and her daughter first opened their store in Pelham in August 2015, and moved to the current Helena location in September 2018. After opening, business was booming for The Petal Cart. Gaisert and Ellis were working longs days and filling tons of orders each day.

Survival of the determined

the petal cart helena
Lee Lee Gaisert (right) and her daughter Kayla Ellis, owners of The Petal Cart in Old Town Helena. Photo via Lee Lee Gaisert

Lee Lee Gaisert’s story of survival and determination is truly inspiring. In 2019, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Instead of retiring or putting The Petal Cart on pause, Gaisert continued to design gorgeous floral arrangements to the delight of the local community while undergoing treatment first in Birmingham and now at Vanderbilt.

It is impossible to image running your own business full-time while receiving cancer treatment, but Gaisert is an excellent reminder that with willpower and determination anything is possible. Gaisert also credits her strong faith to her ability to get through this situation.

Before tragedy struck, Gaisert (like many of us, I’m sure) did not believe she could get through something like her current situation. But her inner strength has shone through, allowing her to continue work and manage her treatment.

“You’ve got to be so strong-willed and so determined that you are not going to die and you are not going to let this get to you. You are amazed at what you can do when you’re put through that fire.”

Lee Lee Gaisert

Motivation and inspiration

 the petal cart helena
The Petal Cart in Old Town Helena, across from the City of Helena Museum. Photo via Claire Hancock for Bham Now

One of Gaisert’s biggest motivations to continue running The Petal Cart, despite many hurdles and set backs, is her love and dedication to her customers. Each arrangement is carefully and thoughtfully crafted to fit the customer’s needs.

As Gaisert says,

“We love our business, and we want to be able to provide the best customer service we can, and we just want to be sure we’re taking care of them… It’s easy when you love what you do, to be able to come in and do what you’re supposed to do.”

Lee Lee Gaisert

Keeping things going

Today Gaisert is still putting a smile on everyone’s face with her flowers and her incredible spirit.

Her orders range from prom corsages to funeral sprays to a bevy of Valentine’s Day arrangements. Gaisert’s favorite flowers to use are anemones and ranunculus, and her favorite designs to make are colorful and contemporary arrangements.

Check out The Petal Cart:

You can find The Petal Cart on Facebook and Instagram.

Learn more about The Petal Cart and its neighbors in Old Town here in this recent Bham Now article.

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Claire Hancock
Claire Hancock
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