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A growing business

Bricelyn’s Brush Creek Boutique has boomed with business

May 8, 2016
Katie Mullaly - Register Staff Writer ( , Faribault County Register

Some say there are people who have green thumbs. Linda Gullikson, owner of Brush Creek Boutique and Floral Shop in Bricelyn, seems to have eight green fingers and two green thumbs when it comes to plants and flowers.

What started out as a hobby has turned into a labor of love, and that love has been going strong for almost 20 years. And, that is only counting the years she has been in business.

Gullikson says her boutique, which now has three green houses as well as a shop, started off with one tent that was located outside of her husband Glen's gas station in Bricelyn. Glen passed away seven years ago, but Gullikson says the boutique is a special reminder of her husband.

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Linda Gullikson, owner of Brush Creek Boutique and Garden Center in Bricelyn, stands in front of her blossoming business. She has owned the business since 1999 and within the last 20 years has grown her business four times as large as it started. Her store features multiple green houses as well as homemade crafts.

"I just mentioned it to him one day that it would be nice to have a greenhouse and he said 'let's do it.' I don't know what I was expecting him to say, but I?was thrilled," says Gullikson.

Gullikson says she has grown up with gardening and has not stopped since her grandfather taught her to garden at their home farm where she still lives in rural Bricelyn.

She actually grew up in Brush Creek, just seven miles northwest of Bricelyn, which is where the name of her store comes from.

Gullikson attended college at the University of Minnesota in Waseca for horticulture. Gullikson says she had the idea of doing floral arrangements as a career.

"I worked at a floral shop in Wells growing up, and I knew how to arrange flowers, so I thought I would do that," she says.

Little did she know how exponentially her hobby would grow. Literally.

What started as the one small collection of plants at her husband's gas station in 1999 grew and grew every gardening season.

Just four years after fusing her hobby into a business, Gullikson's customer base grew large enough for her to relocate, where her store is now on Main Street in Bricelyn.

"I thought I would never be able to manage one greenhouse, which is what we started with, but then things just kept getting bigger and bigger," she says.

Gullikson has a boutique store, which also is a labor of love for her. She creates different treasures from thrown away parts and antique pieces to create new items for her customers.

More recently, Gullikson shares she has noticed an interesting trend in the gardening business.

"Lately, people are becoming more and more interested in vegetable and herb gardens as well as all-natural ways of taking care of already existing gardens, such as manure instead of processed fertilizer," she says.

From the run-of-the-mill garden tomatoes and peppers, to kale, to all sorts of herbs, Gullikson says she has it, and if not, she will get it for her customers.

"Customers are just really going back to basics with vegetable and herb gardens. They are very much interested in home-raised produce. They're even bringing in less common vegetable requests like beets, kale, and different varieties of herbs," she says.

Gullikson does her best to make sure the Brush Creek Boutique and Garden Center is well-stocked before the end of April, which is when her open house is held every year. But, business actually starts a little earlier than that, she says.

When the end of March rolls around, Gullikson's business begins as she starts planting a good amount of her flowers, plants and vegetables and grows them from little seeds.

As the seedlings begin to grow, she also makes sure to connect with local growers to get any other necessary items ready for the spring planting season and her open house.

"This is my passion, this is what I love to do, and I enjoy sharing this passion with other people," she says. "That's why I grow a lot of plants myself and work with local growers. This way, I know what kind of product my customer is getting."

Gullikson takes pride in making sure her customers have exactly what they are asking for. She says she does her utmost to get what her customers need for their dream gardens.

She and her staff of five workers do a lot of customized planting. They take special orders, and search high and low for the items their customers request.

They have even followed small gardening trends like fairy or gnome gardens, which consists of small succulent plants and mosses intertwined with stones and small fairy or gnome figurines placed into oversized potting wheels. Another fun plant for younger gardeners are the sensitive plants, which react when they are touched by closing up their leaves.

"If there is something you are looking for, we are going to find it for you," she says.

Though Gullikson's green fingers may not be visible to all, they are certainly visible in her boutique and garden center.

A lifetime of learning to garden from her grandfather and her collegiate background, Gullikson has put everything into her labor of love.

From fond memories of growing gardens while growing up, to sharing a business together with her husband, each plant at the Brush Creek Boutique and Garden Center has a special touch from the green thumbs, and fingers, of Linda Gullikson.



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