Contact Your Local Banking Expert Today
In the Highlands

Small Business Spotlight: Hamilton Roots Plant Shop

Man in red shirt and woman in green striped shirt smile and stand in front of a shelf of plants

Originally, plant parenting was just a hobby for Michele and Adam Kenny. Then the pandemic happened and the pair turned their hobby into a full-blown business. Highlands Community Bank has been honored with the opportunity to help the Hamilton Roots Plant Shop become rooted in the community. Now, Hamilton Roots Plant Shop is the place to go for those hard-to-find houseplants.

Starting as Seedlings

Adam and Michele grew up together in Alleghany County. The pair’s relationship began to blossom after the two graduated from Alleghany High School. When they’re not working at the shop, Michele is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist for Bath Community Hospital, and Adam works as an IT Manager for Alleghany Highlands Community Services. Michele is the Hamilton Roots’ plant pioneer, finding special plants that you won’t typically find at your local Walmart or Home Depot, while Adam handles the logistics side of the business.

“Like a lot of new businesses, COVID was the beginning of our story,” says Michele Kenny, co-owner of Hamilton Roots. “I started collecting houseplants in 2020; it started off as one here and there, then grew and grew.”

Michele and Adam always had to travel long distances to get their houseplants. “Walmart would have the occasional interesting plant, but not very often,” says Adam. “If we wanted something different, we would have to travel out of town and go out of our way.” That’s when the pair had the thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have something here locally where people could buy plants?”

One morning, Adam was driving through town when he saw someone moving out of a downtown storefront. He called the building owner, confirmed that the space was available, then gave Michele a call. “He calls me and says ‘let’s open a plant shop!’,” she mentions. “I just said ‘what!?’, but we’re always traveling places to get these plants and can’t find them anywhere around here, so let’s give it a try and see what happens.”

Rose Above a Challenge

Running a plant shop comes with its own thorny challenges. To start, the couple both have full-time day jobs and have two young boys at home. In addition, the pair weren’t familiar with standard business practices when they started out. After they found the shop, Adam began researching things like ‘how to set up an LLC, how to write a business plan, etc.’. However, even after researching, Adam and Michele still had questions.

As Michele and Adam were ironing out the details of running a shop, the next challenge was to acquire plants to sell. Now, you probably didn’t know that most local plant shops get their plants shipped in from Florida where most of the growers are located. When Hamilton Roots purchase plants for their patrons, they are shipped in a climate-controlled tractor-trailer to the shop. Once they make their way to Hamilton Roots, Michele and Adam take care of the plants by watering them, trimming off the wilted bits, and moving them around the shop to ensure customers take home a happy and healthy plant.

Keeping Within the Roots of the Community

When the pair began their journey opening Hamilton Roots, Adam reached out to Highlands Community Bank for help. “There’s a radio ad for Highlands that says ‘keep your money in our community,” he mentions. “And that’s absolutely true with Highlands Community Bank. That’s where I want my money because I know it really does stay in the community.”

“Highlands Community Bank was a fantastic resource,” says Adam. “They fielded all our questions without hesitation, and if they were unsure of an answer, they were great at suggesting someone else in the community that we could go talk to.”

Employees like Brandon Caldwell, Bryan Thompson, and Kim Moses helped get their business off the ground. The team walked Adam and Michele through online banking, ordered checks and debit cards, and made sure they could integrate with services like Square, Paypal, and Venmo to offer easy payment options for customers.

“We’re a tight-knit community and you can feel that when you visit,” says Adam. “The bank is at the center of a lot of that; They help fund and sponsor a lot of things in our area and they’re woven into the DNA of Alleghany county.”

A Day in the Leaf

Hamilton Roots is a unique shop to visit due to the interactions you may have with others in the community. “It’s a small shop, so you’re right next to people,” says Michele. “I didn’t realize how much satisfaction I would get from having conversations with the people that come in.” Plant patrons share their stories and plant journies with others visiting the shop, opening up a dialogue for members of the community to connect in a whole new way.

If you’re looking for hard-to-find house plants that you can’t get at a Walmart, Home Depot, or other store, Hamilton Roots is the place to visit. “Eventually, we’d like to grow into a bigger shop,” says Adam. “We’d like to have more opportunities for staff, be open for longer, and even get a greenhouse or two to start growing our own plants.” Lately, the shop has been hosting Pints & Plants events at local breweries as a way to bring the plants to those who would otherwise not be able to visit the store on a typical day. Michele and Adam host Pints & Plants at breweries like Nowhere Brewing and Big Draft Brewing. You can find their events by following them on social media!

“I love that Hamilton Roots decided to make Clifton their home! We did not have anything like this for the longest time. They are kind, knowledgeable about the plants they sell, and reasonably priced! If you’re near Clifton and are in need of plants, they’re the place to go.” – Lacy Meyer, Clifton Forge Local

Visit Hamilton Roots Wednesday through Friday from 4:30 PM – 7 PM, and on Saturdays from 10 AM – 3 PM. They’re located in downtown Clifton Forge on Ridgeway Street. The crew at Hamilton Roots is here to help if you have any plant questions. They not only sell plants, but they’re an incredible resource for plant parenting.

Explore More Like This

View All Articles
Leaving so soon?

You are leaving Highlands Community Bank's website and linking to a third party site. Please be advised that you will then link to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Highlands Community Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Highlands Community Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.