Nestled along main street in Nebraska's oldest community, you will see a small but wonderful little broom shop known as Sweetwater Brooms and Such. 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. Probably a craft not mastered by many, it is one that every home needs.
The broom shop smells faintly of fresh straw from the hurls of broom corn stacked in corners of their back room. Customers often comment on the fragrant aroma. Parlor, heath, whisk, camper and assorted youth brooms line the wall.
As visitors to the shop wait, owner Terry Vice is frequently seen making a broom to demonstrate. 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 brooms.