By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Fred and Jane Holasek may be known at Prairie Days parades for giving away plants, but this year, they’ll stand out for another reason.
Holaseks, who own Fred Holasek and Son Greenhouse in Lester Prairie, were selected as the 2012 Prairie Days parade grand marshals.
The couple has been an integral part of the community for decades.
Fred, for example, is involved in the Lester Prairie Business Association and Lester Prairie Task Force, and serves on the First Community Bank Lester Prairie board.
He and Jane are both active in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie, and both spent eight years serving with the local Cub Scout troop.
Neither of them grew up in the Lester Prairie area, however.
Fred, who was raised in the Twin Cities, began working at a greenhouse part time when he was 14. After high school graduation, he decided to start his own greenhouse in Long Lake.
“He was looking for a place to expand, and saw this greenhouse in Lester Prairie for sale,” Jane said.
According to Fred, his parents were instrumental in getting the greenhouse off the ground, and his mother, Lois (who now lives in Lester Prairie), managed the Long Lake location during the expansion.
Although growing plants was natural for Fred’s family, Jane’s childhood focus had been music.
After graduating from high school near Mankato, Jane earned a degree in instrumental music teaching. She then worked at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School in New Ulm.
Jane’s schedule was later interrupted by Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which required eight months of chemotherapy and radiation.
Her first date with Fred was two months into remission.
Jane soon moved to Lester Prairie, working for Littfin Truss in Winsted and helping with the greenhouse on the side.
After she and Fred got married, Jane gradually became more involved in the business part time in 1986, and full time in 1995. Their sons, Alan and Jay, also help when they can.
With retail and wholesale service, poinsettias, annuals, pumpkins, and much more, the greenhouse is busy year-round.
“It used to slow down between Memorial Day and Christmas,” Fred said. “It isn’t like that anymore.”
The Holaseks don’t mind working seven days a week, though.
“That’s just part of the business,” Fred said.
“With a family business, of course, your heart is in it,” Jane added.