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The Rustic Root


Article by Jody Pear

Photography by The Rustic Root

The Rustic Root in St. Clair Shores is a beautiful corner shop that appears to have a spotlight on it, beckoning me to come inside each time I drive by.

It’s no wonder it creates this reaction for me because it is a place built on dreams, values, integrity, empathy, love, and family.

Sisters Andrea and Lindsay were sitting in the car in front of Lindsay’s hair salon, looking toward the vacant corner building, daydreaming. Andrea said, “Wouldn’t it be great to create a flower shop with a flip?” She was longing for a flower shop that feels fresh, inspiring, unexpected, and offered customers bountiful garden roses, anemones, proteas, and more. In the fall of 2015, they began brainstorming on how to bring this seed to fruition. Doors opened in the spring of 2016, and here they are five years later, creating beautiful, meaningful floral pieces for everyday and special events.

The intention and vision for the gift shop was to bring something fresh and unique to St. Clair Shores. They wanted to bring more of a handmade, one-of-a-kind intention and felt like they could bring that to the Eastside.

I see a place that anyone can walk into and feel like taking a moment to enjoy the experience of shopping local in a beautiful shop.

Andrea and Lindsay grew up in a family of four with a stay-at-home mom who who baked and cooked from scratch often, while their dad worked as a plumber. Some of their fondest memories are creating weed bouquets for their mom and watching their extended family create beautiful things with their hands, from landscape design, to cooking, baking, and crafting. They have a deep appreciation for the nurturing, comfortable home their mom proudly created. 

“It wasn’t one thing that led me down the path to flowers," Andrea says. "I think it’s just something I was always around. I started to tap into my creative side when redoing my landscaping about 10 years ago from scratch, which led me to start playing with flowers for my small family events that I hosted, then that led to a couple of small weddings, and here I am today, with a brick and mortar. That’s the journey in a nutshell. I really enjoy the instant gratification from using my hands to create something special and different. I don’t like doing the exact same thing over and over. It’s just not how my mind works.”

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Leading up to the shop opening five years ago, it was a cumulative effort of a handful of people working with their hands, that included Dad, Lindsay, and Andrea, to create the cozy ambiance of The Rustic Root. Their dad, Rick, would also make their custom wood boxes for arrangements in the first few years of business.

Andrea was pregnant with her third daughter when the shop opened, and it has felt like home ever since. She potty-trained two daughters there, and now her mom is even working in the shop, instilling hard work and creativity into yet another generation. 

Helping customers express their own unique creativity, Andrea walks them into the flower room and asks them to tell her what flowers or greenery stands out and looks appealing in that moment, and then she builds on their inspiration.

She takes the time to understand the person who is making the purchase, and if it is a gift, she wants to know about the receiver and the sentiment that is being conveyed. She treats the interaction as an opportunity of discovery that results in a unique expression they feel good about. 

Andrea notices the uniqueness of every stem; how it’s shaped and moves and then she precisely and thoughtfully layers them into each arrangement. In moments of pure inspiration, she has created some of her favorite bouquets from her own landscaping at home. Her hope is that the intricate details of her creations are an experience of joyful reflection for the receiver. 

Because of her deep love for plants, she designed a pot and plant bar for the DIY customers. Select from their locally sourced houseplants and succulents, choose a pot (or bring your own), rocks, and colored moss. Their tagline for the DIYer is to “pick a plant, pick a pot, and you or I can pot it up for you! Just pick out your toppings.” There is an additional charge for this option. 

The Rustic Root is not just a shop, it’s an experience to be savored. To elevate the shoppers' experience even more, they offer freshly brewed cups of coffee. Their parents enjoyed fresh coffee all day, so they have incorporated this passion into their business, once again honoring their upbringing.

What you don’t see that is going on behind the scenes is wedding and special event planning. Consultations for these events is Lindsay’s area of expertise while Andrea prefers to design the event and manage the day-to-day operations. The shop offerings are ever-changing and evolving as they are eager to provide memorable experiences and unique selections for their customers.

One of their boutique-inspired lines of lotion comes from a small farm in Alabama. Lindsay and their mom met the owners in person and have enjoyed nurturing the relationship and all the others they have created over the years. Selecting the right line of greeting cards was decided when Andrea and Lindsay found themselves laughing out loud as they read through one vendor’s creations. They come from a family that loves to have a good laugh, so they thought the cards were the perfect fit. They often hear the customers laughter when picking out the cards. The shelves are full of specialty items curated from small businesses in Michigan and from across the nation. Christmas and Mother’s Day are the two biggest gift-giving holidays for the shop, and they are currently clearing the shelves to make room for the holiday items.

This year, rather than focusing so heavily on holiday-themed gift selections, they focused more on intentional items and experiences. One example is a Virtual Happy Hour Cocktail Kit, a fun way to celebrate the holiday season with family, friends, or co-workers, virtually. They want the receiver to feel as good as the buyer does and to know that something was selected with their very personalized preferences in mind. They will be offering unique and fun bouquets and centerpieces that can be placed in a vessel of your choice, even if you choose to bring in your own.

Their loyal plant customers have come to know their delivery schedule and will consistently show up on Friday afternoons or Saturdays to get a peek at the new deliveries that came in before anyone else does. Andrea has learned how intentional many of her customers are, and she continues to serve that need.

New items are arriving to prep for the holiday from local vendors, along with a selection of holiday T-shirts and other special items that are intended to make customers have a good laugh. 2020 has not been ideal by any means, so if you need a mood boost, have a moment to yourself, or grab your best friend, stop in and have that moment. They are currently working on adding online shopping to their new website. Customers will be able to order local deliveries and pickups.

In 2018, they received the St. Clair Shores Beautification Award. New signage for the awning is in the works, along with plans for a new street-side patio to allow for the return of workshops or to sip on an afternoon cup of coffee at a safe social distance for the customers. There is an abundance of convenient parking behind the shop with a short walk to the front door, and there are future plans to expand the coffee bar. With their ever-evolving changes, it will be exciting to follow along and see what’s new at The Rustic Root, a family of multi-passionate entrepreneurs with a contagious vision and motivation to soar in the community of small businesses.

When I asked Andrea, “What is your biggest dream in terms of floral creations?” She replied, “I want to continue to grow, to evolve, to have people still interested in what I create years from now. I feel like I’m just getting started, and I’m five years into this professionally.

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"If you are looking for a comfy, cozy feel when you walk into a place, this is your new favorite stop.

If you are looking for a place that has a little something for just about everyone, please stop by.

Come in, get up close with our blooms and pick your own bouquet by the stem from the flower room—or we can do it for you on the spot.

I want you to grab a cup of coffee, slowly walk around, soak up the creativity and get inspired.

Our personal touch is on just about everything.

This place is a labor of love. My family has put their heart and soul into it. My three girls are growing up here, watching their mom juggle work and home life with the hopes of having them continue what is being built for them.

My youngest took her first steps here. It’s more than a shop; it’s our home, and anyone is welcome to come in and enjoy it."