Nestled along main street in Nebraska’s oldest community you will find a small but wonderful little broom shop known as Sweetwater Brooms and Engraving. Its owners Terry and Renee Vice strive to provide a step back in time to the turn of the century by keeping broom making alive. It’s probably a craft not mastered by many yet it is one that every home needs.
When you first walk into the broom shop you catch a faint smell of fresh straw, customers often comment on the fragrant aroma. If you are lucky you will get to view a live demonstration of a broom being handcrafted. Onlookers are able to watch as the broom is made on a machine that dates back to as early as 1876. It was originally acquired in Kansas as used equipment, and is identified as a right-hand squirrel cage or foot power winder. The foot powered machine’s function is evident in the very first step, layering the straw evenly around the wooden handle. When the straw is properly in place and wired, the broom is then sewn using a 2-pointed needle with a center hole that is laced into and around the straw to hold it in place. Depending upon the style of the broom made it can then be placed in a specially designed cutter which is the final step where the straw is trimmed to the desired length.
Terry’s wife, Renee’ can be found adding custom weaving and decorative designs to the finished brooms. She also hand makes veggie brushes, cake testers, creative miniature cob web brooms, and various other broom corn treasures. Also in the shop are other primitive products that include wooden broom holders, handmade quilts, and photographs of the local landscape.
Terry and Renee’ recognized that broommaking by hand was becoming a lost art with fewer and fewer shops still operating today. Because of the community being known for its historical attractions a broom museum is in the process of being built with hopes of it being completed by late 2017.
Sweetwater Brooms are of the highest quality available and are backed by a 100% lifetime guarantee. It won’t take you long once you step into Sweetwater to see the love and skill that goes in to every broom product that is made. With a heart for keeping this living history alive you won’t be disappointed by adding this to your trips agenda. Stop by their shop on Main Street in Brownville, Nebraska or visit their store online.