MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you spend a little time in a greenhouse, you’ll learn that there are a few parallels between people and plants.

You take a good seed, plant it in the right place, feed it, and nurture it just so, and it grows into something you can be proud of.

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Over 50 years ago, the same can be said for a little Willmar sprout named Stacy Fladeboe, as his purpose in life was about to be revealed to him.

“When I was 9 years old, I worked at my dad’s friend’s greenhouse for 50 cents an hour,” Stacy said.

Stacy Fladeboe (credit: CBS)

Needless to say, Stacy flourished.

“When I was 18, I still worked for 50 cents an hour because I loved it so much,” he said.

And that love for growing things turned to passion at the University of Minnesota.

“When I was at the U, learning plant biology, I’m not that smart of a guy, but all of a sudden it clicked,” he said. “I just love when the sun strikes that leaf and you get life.”

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With his horticulture degree in hand, Stacy moved back to his hometown of Wilmar to start his business, Stacy’s Nursery. And thanks to his community’s support, this marks his 40 year serving them.

(credit: CBS)

“I just love dirt … and this is such a people-oriented business,” Stacy said. “We love our customers and they love us.”

And in those 40 years, they’ve added landscaping, irrigation and floral arranging to their list of services — so Stacy recruited some family.

“My daughter, my son-in-law, my nephew and my goddaughter are all part of the business,” he said.

And two of them have horticulture degrees from North Dakota State University, so suffice it to say, there is a lot of knowledge at the nursery if you have questions.

So the next time you’re in Willmar, stop in, pet the dogs and strike up a conversation — and you’re sure to get a smile.

“That’s the goal, because if they’re smiling, we’re smiling,” Stacy said.

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He admits to being semi-retired and works a few less hours these days in exchange for a few more hours in a fishing boat.