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Hidden Gems: Meet Jake Hardy of Rooted Trading

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jake Hardy. 

Hi Jake, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Growing up in and around commercial construction, I believed that that is what I was supposed to do. I started part-time after graduating high school and went full-time after college. After a few years of doing project management work, I felt like I was ‘losing’ myself, my foundational values were being challenged, and I was struggling with depression on/off. After a couple of years of this, I happened to go on a solo cross-county road trip that created a pivotal change. Through many hours of being alone to think, challenges that created rejuvenated self-confidence, and a prayer for help, I asked for a change. It could have been a position to a career change, but I knew something else had to happen to keep moving forward in a positive way. 

Upon arriving home two weeks later, feeling refreshed, I started working on ways to work on a new direction. Something that was based on being ‘rooted’ in yourself, but not afraid to experience more. 

Later that year, my father purchased a historic general store and started renovations with the intention to lease it out to somebody else. As we talked about what it could be, what direction the renovations should go, and what the surrounding area needs, I became stuck on the idea of it being a ‘modern’ general store with a community-centered approach. 

After many discussions with my wife and father, we decided that if anybody was going to do it, it needed to be me. ‘Rooted Trading Co’ was born. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Our original opening date was going to be April 2020 and that was pushed back due to COVID-19. After waiting a few months, we decided that no time would be the perfect time, and opened in September 2020. We opened in the middle of a global pandemic in a city that is at the beginning of reemerging. These obstacles created our two biggest challenges: (1) dealing with distribution struggles and (2) spreading the word that we exist. However, this is the only world we know (so far), so we deal with it and figure out how to move forward. 

For every challenge we have had, we have had a victory. We strive to get every person to leave with a smile on their face, and I feel we have been pretty successful with that so far! 

As you know, we’re big fans of Rooted Trading Co. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Welcome to a new experience! We are a retail store in downtown Historic Powder Springs, GA that strives to bring a unique experience to everybody from customers to vendors to employees. 

We have locally made goods, self-branded items, gear to help you get outside, bike rentals, kayaks rentals, food/drinks, beer/wine, food trucks, and a big outdoor space to simply enjoy. More than half of the store is filled with items made in Georgia, and the other items are things we personally think are really cool. 

In short, we tell people we are a mix between an outdoor store and a farmer’s market. It is something that you have to visit to understand! 

We are proud to be a safe haven for people to try new things. We host many pop-up shops that are typically people who just started a business and want to try it out at a brick-and-mortar spot. We have people that haven’t ridden a bike in years take off for a nice ride on the Silver Comet Trail, or others try a kayak out for the first time on a lake right up the street. Also, we have many brands that are not well known in the area that provides special gifts for yourself or others. 

We are all about new experiences. 

How do you think about happiness?
I am happy when witnessing somebody having an experience for the first time. I love being a ‘host of new experiences’. After many years of working on understanding myself and the things (traits and resources) that I have been blessed with, I realized how rewarding it can be to share those with others who do not have the same. I enjoy doing things alone, but it can really add to the experience when somebody else gets to enjoy it along with you. 

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