A growing concern: Roots comes to town

Published 12:05 am Sunday, May 7, 2023

SALISBURY — Growing up with parents who were both avid gardeners meant Marleigh Adams was already predisposed to love plants, but she didn’t start out thinking she would someday have a plant shop.

Now, she can’t imagine anything else.

Her new store, Roots, opened officially last weekend to a packed house, she said, and the community support has been “beyond amazing.”

The shop, though owned and operated by Marleigh, has become a family affair, with mom, Carrie Adams, and brother Travis helping out. Travis built most of the shelving and created the concrete counter tops in the store that needed almost a year’s worth of renovations.

“We spent a lot of time walking the downtown area and looking for the right spot,” said Marleigh. “This place needed the most work of any of the available spaces, but it was the right space, so we went for it.” The vibe she has created is soothing, earthy, peaceful, and the spotlight is definitely on the plants. From spotted begonias to air plants that need no soil to the carnivorous pitcher plant, Marleigh has what a house needs to add life. And she is prepared to make sure buyers understand how to care for their new purchases, though she has no real plans to offer classes.

“That wasn’t something I set out to do at the beginning, and there are other shops here that do, and I don’t want to conflict with them; I want to keep our relationships happy, and they have both been so supportive,” she said. In fact, shop owners throughout downtown have been supportive across the board, along with the city.

“I can reach out to the city at any time and they are very responsive, have offered a lot of tips and ideas and have been so good about making sure I am aware of any events going on,” she said. The most challenging thing about opening was getting the license to serve alcohol, because the shop offers wine slushies. It required an inspection of the premises, which had to wait until the renovations were complete, but it all came together in the end.

In the front of the store there is a circle of chairs with a center coffee table, surrounded by plants, that Marleigh hopes will become a gathering spot for people, where they can use the WiFi, chat with friends and even enjoy an icy glass of wine if they like. And if the attendance so far is any indication, the store is already making a name for itself.

This past Saturday, Ken Davis from Lexington, a well known singer and musician, entertained the shoppers who were so plentiful at one point that the line snaked through the whole store and back again.

One thing Marleigh does want to do down the road, according to her mother, is create a mobile greenhouse truck that she can take to events to sell plants.

“Initially she talked about just doing a plant truck, a mobile business,” said Carrie. “But eventually it became clear that she should go ahead and establish an actual shop. But I know she still wants to go mobile.”

The plants Marleigh offers come from all over the country, from Colorado, Florida and other states, but also from Statesville and Charlotte. She plans to source as much locally as possible.

“I’ve tried to source for both beginners and collectors,” she said. “And I hope that people will buy here instead of buying online, support a local business, because we do have plants that you really can’t get elsewhere except by going online. You won’t find them in box stores. I am trying to market to everyone, not a particular age group, and not just women, but to everyone.”

Plants, she said, “can completely change a space, can make a space welcoming and warm and peaceful, and that’s what I hope people feel when they come in.”