Last year, I wanted to feature Roots & Wings Farmhouse Market after they moved from Main Street Jackson to 83 Main Street in Sutter Creek, but I couldn’t connect. Last month, Roots & Wings owner Adrienne Hawkins asked me about interviewing her, and I drove to Sutter Creek to interview her at Roots & Wings on September 15.
Hawkins started her career in the medical field at the age of 18. Before she opened Roots & Wings on September 1, 2019, she worked in various jobs, most recently at the Safeway pharmacy in Martell. A few years ago, Hawkins started producing her own skincare line that grew over time—so much so that she decided to establish her brick-and-mortar business, rent space at 33 Main Street in Jackson, and include gifts, décor, handmade foods, and candles with her skincare products. Today, Hawkins employs three people including a woman she worked with at the Safeway pharmacy.
What’s more, Hawkins’ husband is a woodworker who makes and sells handmade furniture at Roots & Wings. She’s not stopping, either—Hawkins told me she’s also expanding her line of clothing. “People here want reasonably priced, quality local clothing,” she explained, “where we fit in the sweet spot between Walmart and an expensive boutique.” She added that she buys her clothing from U.S. businesses as well as from up-and-coming entrepreneurs locally and countrywide.
The Move North
Roots & Wings did well in Jackson, but she noticed there her customers were mostly locals with few tourists. She was already looking at moving to Main Street in Sutter Creek because she had run out of room in her Jackson store. As she started searching, the public health emergency went into effect and she had to close her store for eight weeks. That’s when opportunity struck.
Hawkins received a phone call from a colleague alerting her to the opening at 85 Main Street in Sutter Creek, but she quickly found that she had to get in line. “There were 18 other people in line to get this place,” she said, “but the owner picked me.” Hawkins noted that if there’s an open space in Sutter Creek, there are 30 to 40 applicants who want to fill it, and spaces don’t stay open for more than a couple of weeks. “It takes a pandemic to get space in Sutter Creek,” she laughed.
Roots & Wings moved to 85 Main Street in May 2020, and then moved next door to 83 Main Street six months later. In her time in Sutter Creek, Hawkins has noted the difference between Sutter Creek and Jackson, which has several open spaces on Main Street. “Jackson has never brought the same vibe Sutter Creek has because Jackson doesn’t have a business association like Sutter Creek has,” she said. “Business owners don’t work together to help other businesses and bring business to Jackson.”
Oddly enough, Hawkins noted her business was slower than it was last year but still robust. “I’m still able to pay the bills and haven’t laid anyone off,” she said. Though Roots & Wings Farmhouse Market is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily right now, Hawkins said she’ll soon close on Tuesdays. “It’s not lucrative for me to stay open on Tuesdays, because there is a lack of places to eat and there aren’t any other open businesses at my end of the street,” she explained.
Even though we’re past Labor Day, Hawkins said shopping is more reserved right now. “There are uncertainties about income, people are relocating, and there’s the smoke and heat we’ve had this year.” But there are always constants, she noted. “People are ready for cooler weather, and when it comes then people will be ready to shop.”
Hawkins also noted that out-of-town customers have noticed that the county isn’t as welcoming as it could be. “Customers have told me that they’ve been made fun of by some locals for wearing a mask,” she said. For her part, she added, “I want customers to feel safe and everyone who comes in here to be treated the same way.”
So, Hawkins thinks it’s time for businesses and the county to pull together to bring business to the county. “There’s a bit of a scuffle because Amador County is small and everybody knows everybody else,” she said. “But we don’t want to exclude people. The county is safe and welcoming, and I want to see everyone do well. Why wouldn’t I?”
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