“There are always things to learn, and you don’t need to know everything to get started,” – Mallory Root


Roots Brew Shop is a relative newcomer to Grand Rapids’ West Side, but this coffee shop is working hard to grow and foster the local community. Serving premium coffee and tea, as well as freshly made pastries and bagels, Roots has established itself as a fixture in the neighborhood. Founders Mallory Root and Austin Radebaugh have a passion for the city they live and work in, and are devoted to creating a space where the surrounding community can thrive.

If you’ve had a chance to talk with Mallory or heard her speak at this year’s Seeds of Growth Luncheon, you may have heard a bit of her story – including some of the challenges and successes she has already faced as a business owner.

One of the biggest challenges Mallory and Austin ran into when opening the shop was that it took months longer than they anticipated. With friends and family by their sides, they tackled much of the “construction” themselves. Opening a business that serves food and drinks requires adherence to strict regulations, and Mallory and Austin found themselves attending meetings with city planning and the health department between construction and painting sessions.

When asked what she would like to tell others about starting or running their own business, Mallory says to have “patience, perseverance and faith. Patience to know it may (or will) take longer than you think it should. Perseverance, because if this is your passion, you must stick with it. And faith, because you must have faith in yourself, your partners and know that things will work out.”

GROW's Resources

Mallory was referred to Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) by a lender at Lake Michigan Credit Union, where she and Austin were applying for a business loan. Based on that recommendation, the two attended the “Intro to GROW” orientation, and applied for the GROW microloan program shortly following that class. That was in September 2014, and all Mallory could think about was how much she wished she’d learned about GROW’s programs earlier. It was during the “Intro to GROW” class that she was introduced to many resources available to those starting a business in the Grand Rapids area.

As Mallory and Austin worked toward launching their business, Mallory continued to take additional classes along the way, and connected with other mentors to help her and her partner create a solid foundation for their new business. While the microloan from GROW was a critical piece, the courage and support Mallory gained through GROW’s programming has been a huge part in Roots’ success.

“There are always things to learn, and you don’t need to know everything to get started,” Mallory told us. “You just need to start. Surround yourself with great friends, family and supporters to keep you going.”

The Importance of Community

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely place with lots of questions, concerns and potential road blocks along the way. This is why connecting with your community, and developing support networks is so critical. In addition to GROW, Mallory and Austin connected with the West Grand Neighborhood Association (WGNO) very early on, participating in local events and getting to know those in the community. It’s given them a chance to connect with some “pretty awesome people,” as Mallory tells us – many of whom continue to encourage and support the business.

GROW is so proud of the hard work that Mallory, Austin, their friends and family have put into creating such a wonderful business in the community. Roots Brew Shop is a prime example of two entrepreneurial-minded people whose patience, perseverance and faith helped make their dream a reality.

Find them on Facebook, or better yet, stop in and tell them GROW sent you.