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For three and a half decades, men looking for a Valentine’s gift for their wife, families wishing to share their sympathies to a friend in a time of need and anyone looking for a meaningful birthday gift all have gone to the same person in downtown Neligh - Dodi Jessen.
Since 1982, Jessen has been found at Neligh Flower Shop at 317 Main Street. Customers have gone to her for years for the perfect flower arrangement or gift idea for a loved one, always walking out with the perfect one.
The Neligh Flower Shop has been a staple of downtown Neligh since before 1950 under a variety of owners. In the spring of 1982, Jessen began working at the shop for Ray Baldwin. When Baldwin moved back to Mullen, Jessen’s in-laws took over ownership on October 10, 1983. She continued on as the manager until March of 1995, when she purchased the business herself.
One of the biggest things that has helped Jessen keep on top of things for so long has been her great help she gets in the store.
“I have a gal, Carla Teel, she comes in and helps me out waiting on customers, cleaning, restocking, pricing, answering the phone. Which is awesome, especially with the busy, busy times. Its really a big, big help to me,” said Jessen. “My daughter, Shelly, comes in and helps me over Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. And of course, I’d be lost without Tom, my delivery guy. He’s awesome. He always makes me laugh every day.”
Over the years, Jessen has kept the Flower Shop going strong, even when other shops in the area have fallen off. She credits her fantastic customer base for her success. She also credits a few changes she’s made to her loyal customers.
“I have a good gift line. Its just full in here. That’s what goes with fresh flowers so I’ve added a lot of gifts,” she said.
While she struggles to name a favorite flower, it is easy for her to narrow down a favorite occasion for flowers.
“Valentine’s Day is the huge one, maybe two day holiday. But Mother’s Day is all week long. That’s by far the biggest. Like I’ve told many people, not everybody has a sweetheart, but everybody has a mother,” Jessen said.
Jessen admitted she is drawing closer to retirement and looks forward to enjoying life as a retiree. However, she did say to make sure to keep an eye out for continued changes in the future.
However, until she does finally decide to move on, customers can be guaranteed of the best gifts and flowers in Neligh.