Commitment to quality plants, clean and organized greenhouse will remain, says new owner

Growing up on a farm, Cara Hanson had grown accustomed to working the land.

Cara Hanson is the new owner of Babe’s Blossoms. Photo by Scott Thoma

“Getting my hands dirty came naturally to me,” said the new owner of Babe’s Blossoms, of Hector. “My grandparents and parents were farmers. I’ve always had a passion for making things grow.”

Babe’s Blossoms was co-owned by Jim and Eileen Roebke, and Doug and Marie Breitkreutz for 21 years. Hanson worked for the Roebkes and Breitkreutzs greenhouse last summer and was impressed at that way they ran the business.

“They instilled in me the importance of having top-quality plants and a clean and organized greenhouse, and I plan to continue that,” said the personable Hanson. “That’s my biggest goal.”

And customers will keep coming back to a place in which the owners value quality.

“We are so pleased to have Cara take over Babe’s Blossoms,” said Eileen Roebke. “We were impressed with her horticulture knowledge and work ethic when she worked for us, so we know she will do a great job.”

Babe’s Blossoms is a large nursery/garden center located seven miles south of Cosmos and seven miles north of Hector on State Highway 4. It was named for the nickname Marie Breitkreutz’s father called her as a child.

There are 10 greenhouse buildings in the nursery that house over 150,000 plants that include six-packs, single plants, vegetable starter plants, perennials, shrubs, hanging baskets, and decorative containers.

Thousands of flowers, plants and hanging baskets are displayed in 10 clean and comfortable greenhouses at Babe’s Blossoms in Hector. Photo by Scott Thoma

If a customer doesn’t have the time to plant their own containers, Babe’s Blossoms can custom pot for them.

“Cara has a great talent for design and an understanding for customer service,” said Roebke. “So not only does she have the natural talent, but she’s willing to work to make the best experience possible for the customer.”

“Cara is probably going to bring in some new ideas, too,” said Marie Breitkreutz. “We have a lot of confidence in her. We are just very, very happy with this young lady.”

Because of the variety, quantity and quality of its products, some of Babe’s Blossoms visitors are overwhelmed at the beauty of the scenery, even if they’ve been there many times before.

“Most of the plants and flowers and vegetables that we sell are grown right here in the greenhouses from start to finish,” said Hanson. “It’s really pretty here when everything is blooming.”

While the two families ran the greenhouse in the past, Hanson will fly solo as an owner. But six employees who have worked at Babe’s Blossoms in the past will stay on.

“I know it’s going to be a lot of work,” said Hanson while taking perennials from plug trays and transplanting them into larger pots. “But I’m not afraid of hard work, and I feel like this is what I was meant to do.

“And the employees I have are experienced and know what to do without having to tell them. Having employees like that is a big help to me and to the customers.”

Babe’s Blossoms has a wide variety of single plants, vegetable starter plants, perennials, shrubs, hanging baskets and decorative containers. Contributed photo

One customer who lives in Hutchinson has been purchasing from Babe’s Blossoms since it opened in 1997.

“I’m so impressed that everyone on the staff is so knowledgeable,” said the customer. “They will tell you what will and what won’t grow in certain areas. Not one thing that I’ve ever bought there has disappointed me.”

And Hanson is confident that customers can enjoy that same valuable assistance from the employees at Babe’s Blossoms.

Hanson graduated from Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School in New Ulm in 2006 and then majored in landscape architecture and minored in horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D.

“I spent summers working at a nursery in New Ulm and gained great hands-on experience from that,” she noted. “When I graduated from college, I worked for a landscape company in Mankato, where I spent six years doing landscape design, installation and garden maintenance, and also helped manage office operations and crew scheduling.”

With a fire burning to work with growing plants, Hanson decided to seek employment in a greenhouse.

“I wanted to learn about what it takes to run a greenhouse, and I knew Babe’s Blossoms had a great reputation,” Hanson said. “So, I felt very fortunate when they hired me.”

There are 10 greenhouse buildings in the nursery that house more than 150,000 plants. Contributed photo

Hanson wasn’t looking to branch off on her own just yet. After only being employed at Babe’s Blossoms for a couple of months, the Roebkes and Breitkreutzs announced they were going to sell the business. And they felt Hanson would be the perfect person to take over.

Breitkreutz echoed Roebke’s statement that the business will continue to grow and prosper under Hanson’s tutelage.

“Cara is a young lady who is very ambitious and hard working,” Breitkreutz stated. “We have great confidence that she will take over the business with ease.”

Hanson, 30, admitted that she had doubts at first about the thought of taking over such a successful business.

“I thought about it for a little while,” she recalled. “I wondered what the chances were that everything would work out. But, I also wondered if I would ever get such a great opportunity again.”

Eventually, Hanson decided to seize the opportunity.

“This is my calling,” she said. “As far back as I can remember, I was following my grandma around in the garden. As a teenager, I was winning blue ribbons with my gardening 4-H projects. It seemed natural to do this for a living.

“Owning a business can be stressful at times, but I am learning every day and am excited to carry on a wonderful business built by wonderful people.”

Cara Hanson pictured at Babe’s Blossom at the end of the season last year. She will be opening up Babe’s Blossoms as the new owner on April 20. There will be a grand opening on May 12. Contributed photo

Hanson has had some help from family members in preparing for her first season.

“I have a huge support system in my family,” she said. “Their encouragement means the world to me.”

Babe’s Blossoms will open for the season on April 20 and will close on July 1. The greenhouse buildings will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday.

There will be a grand opening at Babe’s Blossoms on Saturday, May 12, with refreshment and door prizes throughout the day.

For more information, call 320-848-6566, email babesblossoms@hcctel.net., or visit the website at www.babesblossoms.com. Also visit the Facebook page.