County native leaves nursing and opens new floral business

3 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — After several years of working as a nurse outside of Aroostook County, Dakota Koch has returned and is in the midst of starting a business she hopes will bring smiles to people’s faces when they most need it.

A native of Wade, Koch graduated from Washburn District High School in 2013 and earned her nursing degree from Northern Maine Community College two years later. She moved to North Carolina, hoping to expand her nursing skills, and worked as both a traveling nurse and a cardiac ICU nurse.

Though Koch spent her final months in North Carolina working during the earlier period of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said that the pandemic itself is not the reason she has returned to Aroostook County. Koch wanted to live closer to her family while also embarking on a new and exciting career path. 

She is now the owner of a currently home-based business, The Perfect Pick Florist.

After several years working as a nurse, Wade native Dakota Koch has started her own business, The Perfect Pick Florist, from her home in Presque Isle. (Courtesy of Dakota Koch)

“There was this coffee shop near my apartment [in North Carolina] and I would always buy flowers for people. Sometimes I would buy extra flowers and practice different arrangements on my own,” Koch said. “I had a co-worker once who asked me, ‘If you could do anything in life that brings you joy, what would you do?’ For me, the answer was ‘flowers’.”

For a while Koch took classes on floral design, read books and blogs on the floral industry and researched how she could go about starting her own business. But it was not until moving to Presque Isle in November 2020 that Koch chose to take a break from nursing and focus on getting The Perfect Pick Florist off the ground.

Thus far Koch has begun a Facebook page and started inviting people to place specialty floral arrangement orders for Valentine’s Day, weddings and other special occasions. She is also partnering with Wintergreen Arts Center to host a virtual floral arrangement class in February.

Most recently, Koch posted a Facebook video thanking people who purchased flowers from her this past week. Koch had ordered enough flowers to take photos for her business marketing products, but did not anticipate the amount of community requests for floral arrangements.

“I ordered flowers just to play around with and do a photo shoot with, but I ended up selling almost every single one of them,” Koch said, in the video. “This is what The County is about and I love it.”

The community spirit of Aroostook County and its people was the biggest thing Koch missed while living away and hopes to embrace now that she has returned. As she grows her business, Koch would like to host floral classes specifically for children and the elderly. The latter group could especially benefit from an activity that connects them with people and allows them to create something beautiful, she said.

For Koch, the inspiration for her business’s name has come from her own memories of picking flowers as a child.

“When I was a little girl, I used to go outside on the farm and pick flowers. I always wanted to pick the perfect one,” Koch said.

In the future, Koch hopes to find a physical business location that will allow her to expand her floral offerings and teach classes in person. For now, she is excited to be back home and looks forward to sharing her love of flowers with the community.

“With every arrangement, I ask myself, ‘How can I bring joy to somebody?'” Koch said. “There’s something about giving flowers to people that has lasted through generations. It brings us joy and I think we could all use more of that right now.”