Posted Apr 18, 2020 at 9:01 AM
FREEPORT — As a young child, Drew Groezinger of Stockton remembers planting a seed alongside his great-grandmother, Lillian, and feeling the joy of seeing that a carrot seed, tended to with love, could become a basic source of food for a family.
He remembers becoming hooked on agriculture, and the rest of his 22 years on earth has been devoted to learning how to become a successful gardener. He counts being a successful florist with his business called Clara Joyce Flowers.
“When I was 11-years-old, I decided I wanted my own garden,” Groezinger said. “I shared my vision with my father and a spark lit in our eyes. At first we grew produce for our family and close friends, but it soon grew to become more.”
By eighth grade, Groezinger was selling produce to the neighborhood as well as local farmers’ markets. He didn’t stop there. He built a produce operation to sell to local farmers and serve families through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). His great-grandmother was proud of the young grandson that took hold of his dream with a carrot seed.
It is Groezinger who would take the flowers he grew to his great-grandmother during her later years of life. The two shared a bond and a love of gardening. He said she loved orange flowers, and she shared her love of the flower Dahlias with him.
Groezinger dives into his memories of his great-grandmother with each bloom that flourishes in the farmland he plants seeds in each year. He now has four greenhouses. He created Clara Joyce Flowers, named after loved ones who helped shape his life.
Groezinger studied, both on his own, and at Highland Community College. He planted the name of a business, hit the soil and embarked on a business adventure that has flourished and helps spread the joy of floral design with his creations that can be seen at weddings, other events, and just with people who want to “flower on” at their own homes.
While floral design and sales is a big part of his business, Groezinger still grows produce to sell at farmers’ markets. Most of his flowers are grown on his farm. He has a self-serve flower stand at his business. He puts out daily flower arrangements for people to pick up. Payment is the honor system. He is a businessman, but also knows the joy that flowers can spread in the home.
With five acres of flowers to plant, Groezinger is gearing up for a new season. He said, “I love what I do, and every day is a new seed that comes to life, and when I see the smile generated on the face of a person that looks at and smells a flower, it makes me proud. It’s the perfect job for me.”
Joleen Grandstand said she knew Groezinger was the perfect choice to design her florals for her wedding more than a year ago. She knew Groezinger as a young child, watching him become an Eagle Scout, and she watched him grow and learn to attain his dream.
“I knew this kid was bound to do great things... and then his dream of Clara Joyce came to life,” Grandstand said. “I can honestly say he is one of the few people I would just turn loose to design for me, which is hard because I am kind of a control freak when it comes to interpreting my vision. I knew with our wedding I could just let Drew do his thing and he nailed it. His creativity, choice of flowers and presentation was all on point.”
She added, “I was also happy to support a local farmer since Drew raises a lot of his own flowers in the Willow valley outside of Stockton. The Clara Joyce Farm is quite impressive. Drew has a way of creating unkempt, natural-looking arrangements with a whimsical feel. His imagination is endless. He is the poster child of a young, smart, hardworking entrepreneur. I’m very proud of him.”
Groezinger is humble about his blossoming career. He doesn’t see himself as a traditional florist.
“Clara Joyce Flowers is unique,” he said. “I have some great ideas for Mother’s Day. I like to have fun and in a unique way, I bring joy to a home.”