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Watch now: 'We're living the American Dream': West Mill Flowers to offer 'you pick'

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RAYMOND — The aroma of lilies, delphinium, snapdragons and lisianthus fills the shop as customers chatter and roosters crow outside Friday.

The flowers, sitting in buckets of water on the counter, had been plucked from the small field around the corner that morning.

Some of them will be bundled and sold throughout the day, while most will be loaded into an old school bus and taken to the Haymarket Farmers Market on Saturday.

Becca Monroe, the owner of West Mill Flowers, started growing and selling flowers in 2017 after the idea came to her while catching grasshoppers with her two children.

After being a stay-at-home mom for several years, Monroe knew it was time to branch out to something new, which meant building on a hobby and turning it into a business.

"I really felt like it was my time," Monroe said. "God was saying your babies are getting bigger. You need to start looking for something that fills your drive."

Monroe operates her business on the family farm just south of Raymond and has a small storefront that is open every Friday from 11-6 p.m. during the summer.

Customers can browse a variety of items from other local businesses or watch as Monroe creates personalized bouquets.

In mid-July, she'll upgrade from planting just one acre to also having several raised flower beds to allow for a "you pick" service, where customers can come and pick their own flowers.

"I personally think going out to a farm and picking your own flowers is so fun," she  said. "If we can create an atmosphere where people come out and they enjoy themselves, that really would just fill our tanks."

Monroe hopes to not only create a memorable experience for her customers, but to also help people understand more about flowers and how they're grown.

"I think that there is such a lack of education on local flowers. We live in an agricultural state and many people know nothing about flowers," she said.

Monroe hosts wreath-making classes during the winter months when she can't grow flowers.

However, most of her business comes from the Haymarket Farmers Market on Saturdays. 

West Mill Flowers, 7.1

Flowers are seen inside a hoop house at West Mill Flowers Friday. Becca Monroe operates West Mill Flowers on their family farm just south of Raymond and has a small storefront that is open every Friday from 11-6 p.m. during the summer.

She first started promoting her business at the Fallbrook Farmers Market, but didn't see the results she'd hoped for. So she decided to make the jump to the bigger farmers market in downtown Lincoln.

She was nervous to make the switch, but after selling out in just two hours the first time she went, she knew she had made the right decision.

"Without the Haymarket Farmers Market, I honestly wouldn't have much of a business," she said.

Monroe and her husband, Tom, who runs West Mill Design Co., are full-time entrepreneurs, which comes with good sides and bad sides, they said.

They have no set schedule, so they can choose their own hours. Even though they work hard all day, they get to do it together and have their children at their sides.

"The negatives are so overpowered by the positives," Tom said. "I think entrepreneurship is exciting and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

At the end of the day, Becca said, their only hope is to teach their children the power of hard work and that it's never too late to try something new.

"Entrepreneurship is 10 times more work, but the benefits are tenfold," she said. "We're living the American dream."

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or jebbers@journalstar.com

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