Most parents set out to instill good traits into their kids, Michigan natives Greg and Lisa Flower are no different. Their two daughters – Dallie and Bailey – have benefited immeasurably from the work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit instilled into them by their parents. When combined with the passion for animals and agriculture the family shares, these are the traits that have helped to shape their lives.
It’s certainly no coincidence that the girls share their parents’ interest in farming. Greg and Lisa made the choice to raise them in a way that would encourage it. After all, agriculture had been a part of their lives from the very beginning. Having met when they were just kids themselves, both members of 4-H, by the time they were in their early twenties they were husband and wife, living out in the country and spending most of their Friday nights attending local team penning events.
Back then, Greg was just in the beginning of his career as an Eaton County Sherriff’s Deputy and Lisa was a nurse. Were they happy? Happy – yes, but driven for more. The couple’s Friday night routine eventually got them thinking about how they wanted to raise their kids. The resulting idea would not only provide a solid foundation for their children’s upbringing, but also give them that something extra they’d been craving in their lives.
They began slowly expanding their place; buying the land around them from their neighbors as soon as it became available. In time, they turned their 40 acres into 240 and have made good use of the space.
It’s the home to Slippery F Arena; an indoor and outdoor venue where the family holds team penning events. It’s most definitely a family affair, daughters Dallie and Bailey are the co-owner operators of the arena with their parents.
Much of the their sprawl is devoted to the 400 head of cattle that call it home during the summer, then down to about 100 in the winter. The property’s former set up as a dairy farm works well for the family’s needs. Greg’s been able to utilize different sectioned off areas to receive new cattle, administer vaccines and ensure that they’re eating well before being turned out to pasture.
Another section of the old farm provides shelter to the horses. These five high caliber animals are shared among Lisa, Dallie and Bailey. They’re used to compete not only in events hosted at Slippery F, but also at other locations, when the girls pack them up and head to the next event. Recently, Bailey and Lisa went to Texas, taking three horses for team penning, while Dallie traveled to Ohio for a sorting event.
The girls run 10-11 shows each year, hosting riders indoors or out, depending on the season. They say most of the riders who attend are local, but they do get the occasional visitor from places like New York and Texas; mostly those are riders who stop in on their way through, as they travel the circuit. So far the girls have been able to use the money they’ve earned to help pay for their college educations. Dallie says she would like to continue exactly what she’s doing. She teases that her boyfriend – whose Ag interests are geared more towards crops – needs to learn to do what her dad does because while she can run the arena, she can’t handle the cattle too.
The girls didn’t get all their entrepreneurial spirit from their dad – Mom Lisa has turned her passion into a thriving organization as well. As a nurse, she was happy with her career, but found she had a special affinity for working with the elderly. It was during negotiations for the purchase of the property across the road from the Flowers’ home that Lisa decided to open an assisted living facility, providing twenty-four hour care for the elderly. The couple from whom Greg and Lisa bought the property were the first residents in Lisa’s new care center. What started as a single wide trailer was built into a custom home, aptly called the Flower House. The family affair extends to Lisa’s business as well; oldest daughter Bailey is one of the caregivers for the home’s fifteen residents.
In the family’s quest to raise healthy animals, Greg says having Michigan Veterinary Supply, a division of ANIMART, Inc. right in his backyard has been a huge help. The family agrees that the customer service is excellent, it’s easy and convenient and they appreciate that the drivers are knowledgeable. The fact that Greg and MVS Warehouse Manager, Dave Nickel, grew up together in Vermontville makes it an even easier pairing. When it comes to getting what he needs, Greg says “I don’t need any other source, I’ve got Dave.”
So what’s next? Greg says one thing he’s certain of is that in three years he’ll be hanging up his badge. He’s seen a lot of interesting things in the 22 years he’s already put in to the Sherriff’s department (most he’d rather not comment on). Once retired, he hopes to continue to foster Dallie and Bailey’s passion for agriculture, as well as his own. Currently he’s giving thought to expanding his custom backgrounding operation or says maybe something completely new will catch his attention. Whatever steps he takes, his family will no doubt be right alongside, sharing the passion that he’s worked so hard to inspire.
To hear the girls tell it, they can’t imagine life any other way.