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Among the many thriving businesses along Neligh’s main street sits the Neligh Flower Shop, a fixture of the town since before 1950. The shop, which continues to create beautiful floral arrangements for both the celebrating and bereaved alike, is currently the only flower business operating in Antelope County.
It’s no wonder, then, that inside the thriving business’s doors one will find owner operator Dodi Jessen hard at work, whether it’s managing inventory, contacting her wholesaler for a special order, or putting together the floral creations that keeps people coming back for more. After all, there are always reasons for flowers, and Jessen does admit to a healthy bustle most days.
“At times it is very difficult to keep up, especially if I have more than one funeral going on along with the regular day-to-day orders for birthdays, anniversaries, etc…You never know when you close the shop at night what the next day will bring.”
Jessen, who managed the shop even before her in-laws purchased it in 1983, and later bought it for herself in 1995, has plenty of experience in the business, and seems to manage beautifully, despite the challenges of finding enough help, keeping up to date with changes in the industry, and keeping prices competitive in a small town.
“The prices have increased tremendously, but living in small town America, you can't raise your prices like the big towns or cities can...you'll run yourself out of business. Small towns can't afford the big price increases, so you try to make it work.”
Aside from the fresh plants and flowers Jessen curates, the shop also boasts an extensive gift and bereavement line, rounding out her product selection. Customers may also visit the shop online, and create their own deliverable arrangements from the comfort of home.
Despite the occasional stress of being the only floral business in such a large area, Jessen takes pleasure in working in Neligh.
“I enjoy our small town and the small town life. [It’s] not hurried or fast-paced as in the city, and I enjoy helping people pick out the right gift and the excitement on their faces when they see the flowers I've put together for them.”
Looking ahead, Jessen wishes to makes some building updates, but hopes to continue to make her loyal customers’ days a bit brighter for the foreseeable future.
“Hopefully down the road, I can pass the business on to an energetic and enthusiastic buyer, to carry on the history of Neligh Flower Shop.”