12 Aug Meet: Pure Roots Boutique
Uptown Westerville really is a subtle mix of the Short North area with a small town feel, and Pure Roots Boutique has found a home in this area–twice, actually.
Nicole always dreamed of opening her own boutique–it was her dream since she was a little girl. It probably comes from her infatuation with jewelry. Her mom used to take her to the Morgan House in Dublin every year for Christmas, and she wanted to live there. Her high school senior paper was about her desire to open her own business. So, you could say she always knew.
In college, Nicole had many artist friends and there was always the issue of where they could sell their pieces. Their choices were really limited–yard sale, maybe? She knew there was a need for a space for other people to sell their art. Maybe she should do it? Maybe she should follow that dream, after all.
Nicole held many odd end jobs in preparation for opening Pure Roots. She saved up until she had enough money to get started. And, she did it.
“At the time, you think, this is your dream, you know it is, but it’s also very scary. At the time, I was a single mom. I was going from an income and a way to support us, to opening a store. Although I was dating someone, and I knew we would get married. It was still scary.”
In June of 2015, she started in a 700-square-foot space off of College Avenue in Westerville-(that’s 1/4 the size of her new shop). Her (then) boyfriend helped renovate the entire space-exposed brick, new floors, all of it. This was Pure Roots Boutique. But, where did the name come from?
“I knew what the business meant to me, but I couldn’t figure out a name. I’m pretty sure I had the key to the shop before it came to me.” It took Nicole making a list–a list of all the words that meant something to her. Roots came to her immediately–roots to her family, her community, her faith, and then the word “pure” came when she was at her Bible study. She had been struggling with a lot at the time, and the word pure came to her through a reminder of how pure God’s love is. As she said, through tears, “I wouldn’t be able to do this without Him.”
As December came around, Nicole was already too big for the space. Although it was a good place to start–this was her first time owning a business, and she wanted to make sure it would work first. “But literally, within 9 months, I outgrew it.”
An engagement, wedding, and a move across the street–April of 2016, Pure Roots was in it’s new home.
The new store was previously a music store for 13 years before Nicole moved Pure Roots over. When they went out of business, she took over the entire store, and the music teachers were worried about where they would teach music. Nicole’s response? “You don’t need to go anywhere-I don’t need seven empty music rooms. This could be a great relationship.”
Art and music? Yes. This was part of her vision, you know, having live music.
That was two years ago, and they are still there teaching music. They offer music lessons for any age, and while you wait for your student to finish, you can shop, and students can practice their performances for the shoppers at Pure Roots on a stage near the front of the store. The relationship is truly a perfect one.
She also has a few other relationships in the store. She has rented out the rooms that were previously used for music lessons, to other entrepreneurs–people who just need a small space to work in. There’s a larger space in the back, past all the smaller rooms. This area is for a non-profit magazine called Pure Design. The photos, design, layout, stories–all of it–is created by teenage girls. Nicole was even part of this great organization at one point, and continues to support them however she can–one way is by selling their quarterly magazine in the shop.
Nicole has a surplus of vendors that apply to be in her store. She is very intentional on how she picks, though. She makes sure there aren’t people competing with each other. What’s also great, is she listens to her customers. If they want something, she finds the vendor and gets it in the store. Walking around, you will find work by Shelly Lou’s Lids and Daisy Mae Designs, to name a few (I love how they have been, or will be featured on Columbus Stories–so amazing how connected we truly are.)
Pure Roots is growing. Nicole is on many boards, and she finds balance between marriage, motherhood, and running the house. But Sundays? You won’t find her. That’s her time to be. Be a mom, wife, and be Nicole.
As we were finishing up our interview with Nicole, people were coming up, trying to open the door. You could tell the love the community has for Pure Roots, but also the love Nicole shares for the community.
“When you live in Westerville, you want to stay in Westerville-you want to shop and eat here.”
Westerville is home for Nicole-it always has been, and now her roots are here forever. “Westerville is my heart. This is home.”