Flower farm blossoms into sisters’ downtown DeKalb floral business

Willrett Flower Company Owners Kat Willrett (left) and her sister Mary Grace McCauley with some arrangements they put together Friday, May 13, 2022, at the store at 302 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. The location will soon be filled with flowers and gift items as they get ready for the opening in June.

DeKALB - For some, growing and arranging flowers can be a fun hobby or pastime. For sisters Kat Willrett, 29, and Mary Grace McCauley, 32, it’s a way of life.

The sisters are co-owners of Willrett Flower Company, 302 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. The business started as a flower farm six years ago, when Willrett started selling flowers she grew at the DeKalb Farmers Market.

Shortly thereafter, McCauley moved to DeKalb County to join her sister in designing floral arrangements and bouquets. The business was based in a studio previously, but in June, the sisters plan on opening their first retail storefront.

“A big part of our business is connecting with nature,” Willrett said. “We sell locally grown flowers that have sustainable practices.”

Willrett grows thousands of tulips at her family’s farm in Malta, as well as other flowers, including zinnias and cosmos.

“We are both from Kansas, and agriculture has always been a huge part of our lives,” McCauley said. “We focus on locally grown flowers because they’re so much more sustainable and higher quality than flowers that are shipped in. All of our flowers are made to order and totally unique. We also have a variety of options and prices, from a $1.50 tulip to large wedding packages.”

Willrett Flower Company will sell floral arrangements and bouquets for all occasions. In the future, the sisters plan to sell candles, gifts and seasonal decor. They also hope to offer interactive classes. On weekends, they will host a stem bar, where customers can choose stemmed flowers to make their own bouquet.

“We want the shop to be a fun experience, some place fun to go to,” Willrett said. “We want it to be bright and cheerful.”

Willrett said that her favorite flower changes on a daily basis. Right now, it’s the tulip.

“Tulips come in so many different varieties, sometimes you can’t even recognize that it is a tulip,” Willrett said. “They may seem simple, but they remind me of spring.”

McCauley said that her favorite flower is the sweet pea.

“I love them because they’re really fragrant,” she said. “You start seeing them early spring, and they make me think of warmer weather and spring arriving. They’re like a dose of sunshine.”

Both sisters said they enjoy working with flowers because of how meaningful they are to people.

“Sending flowers to someone is a chance to share kindness and positivity and a way to let people [know] you care about them,” McCauley said.

“Working with flowers, you get to be a part of so many important events in peoples’ lives,” Willrett said. “Flowers are at weddings, funerals, baptisms, birthdays, baby births, get wells and just because. For every life experience, flowers are involved. That’s why I love flowers and why I love what I do.”

Have a Question about this article?