The Root Of It All
I work at the Root Cafe VERY intentionally.
The most prevalent lesson I took from my education at the university of Notre Dame is the question, “How can my gifts serve the world?”
The Root Cafe ACTIVELY serves the Lakewood and Cleveland community in so many ways it’s difficult to even begin to quantify.
What sets The Root apart and has kept me there for 4+ years (with no end in sight) is the daily function of this cafe.
We open at 6 and set the tone for so many people’s days. Doctors and nurses, journalists, teachers, local government officials, retired you-name-its, artists, social workers, preachers, activists, and architects (when I mention each of these roles, I am thinking of literal people who I know and have connected with almost every day for these past few years, I’m not being hyperbolic.)
Each of these individuals choose to start their day at The Root with a coffee or a scone or maybe both. They carry that experience and energy with them throughout their day and through their work.
We support local artists by showcasing their work or being their place of work!
We support local musicians. Many of the Cleveland bands that are absolutely crushing it right now got their start at the Root’s open mic.
We support our diverse, kick-ass, funky, fun, and caring employees by providing a living wage, by listening to their feedback and ideas and very often gratefully, gratefully implementing these suggestions and ideas, and by providing a fun work experience that isn’t just a set of hours spent mindlessly solely to pay bills. Our staff supports each other’s lives outside of work and interests, hobbies, tours, gigs, and goals are highly prioritized when schedules are being created. I can honestly say that my Root bosses are my family (sometimes literally with cuzzies and siblings working together, etc…)
We support farmers locally and abroad through ethically sourced, organic ingredients INCLUDING our coffee beans which is very difficult to do in today’s world where exploitation of international farmers is an accepted norm.
We support local roasters and they support us HUGE shoutout to duck rabbit coffee for recognizing what we do and joining forces to provide a non-commodity cafe experience with us.
We support community health by being one of the ONLY organic restaurants in the area serving vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
We also support community mental health, physical health, and I wouldn’t feel I was overstating it to say, spiritual health as well by crafting a walk-up, get out of your CAR, see some sunlight and plants, TALK TO SOMEONE (probably someone who is vastly different than you), eat a plant, drink a plant, receive a smile in-house experience.
We have Jerry, the 60-something war veteran and poet who comes to the Root every night to connect with people of all ages in his community and write poems for them.
We have countless regulars who make a conscious effort to support our cafe while simultaneously providing awesome conversations, book recommendations, and invitations to incredible events they are involved with happening around CLE.
We have many friends who hang out sipping on water that add so much to the vibe of our cafe and at any other location I’ve worked or even been to would likely be asked to leave.
We have BABIES! Welcome to breastfeed, explore and even join in the workday.
We have two incredible owners that have taught me about unconditional love, support, parenthood, and integrity through their actions. I have witnessed Julie and Bobbie make countless decisions over the years and each and every time I hear them think through things I am honored to work for these beautiful people. Their values have helped me to shape my own.
The Root may not be perfect but I am damn sure that my gifts are serving my community with the hours that I spend at this place and I sincerely hope I continue to be able to do so.
It’s really the choices we make each day that cause the world and society to continue to change.
I guess maybe just think about it the next time you have the choice to go through a drive-thru or to park and support a small biz likely to give you a more personalized, healthy experience.