There is a little bit of everything at Roos Place in Mount Olive. It’s more than a garden center, although they have that more than covered, it’s a cross between stopping by to visit family, and a place you stay to look at everything they have that you didn’t come by to look for, because there are so many different things to see.
We interview Michelle Crosthwait, the owner of Roos Place, and it is clear how much fun she has running her garden center and how much she loves being an independent, small business in a small town.
It’s also evident that Michelle has a real love for her customers and supporting the community.
Treye Hanner: Tell our readers about your business. How did it begin and how has it grown through the years?
Michelle Crosthwait: As a seasoned landscaper, it’s always been my passion to have a little “mom & pop” garden shop. 11 years ago, an opportunity fell my way and I rented the place and began to set-up shop.
We have always been a garden shop that has a little bit of everything from jewelry, antiques, odd items, to locally made herbal products, canned goods, house plants, and the list goes on! It’s hard to beat our prices. We welcome consigners and pop-up shops to give Roo’s Place an extra something known as our Je ne sais quoi!
We have always prided ourselves to use only Alabama growers and we love our community which we know is the secret to our success. Keep in mind we are not a chain store; we are locally owned, operated, and off the beaten market.
Treye Hanner: You have everything from plants to gifts. How did your business grow from plants and garden to offering more items like home and gift items?
Michelle Crosthwait: We have always had a little bit of everything and have expanded on this many times and always will. We carry local honey year-round, Fertil-lome/Hi-Yield products, and wonderful herbal products by Cullman’s own “Weeds and Roots Herbals”.
We have many friendly chickens and rabbits who are our Roo Pets! Some have lived here for years, some are rescues. We have become the community petting zoo and it’s a great opportunity for the kiddos to see, pet, watch, & learn about critters and gives “parents” a little break while shopping for flowers and plants.
We’re not just a seasonal garden shop, we are open all year long. We have beautiful Christmas trees starting around thanksgiving and Santa comes by and sees the children closer to Christmas. We set the area up for photos with Santa and in the Spring with our big ferns and bunnies. You never know what you’ll see at Roo’s!
Treye Hanner: Do you offer classes to help people who want to learn more about planting and growing indoor and outdoor plants and trees?
Michelle Crosthwait: Yes! We currently have classes. One Saturday morning a month we have “Coffee in the Garden” class featuring a series of how-to, what-to-do-if, and let’s-try-something-new topics taught by local master and expert gardeners.
We are also offering “Vino in the Giardino” on Thursday evenings starting soon too.
We had our first class this year recently which was very informative, fun, and had great attendance!
Treye Hanner: Have there been any challenges in competing with larger home and garden type businesses like those now in Gardendale and Fultondale?
Michelle Crosthwait: We’ll of course the competition is out there, and we are competitive! We use only local, Alabama grown, growers that have had more TLC when seeded, propagated, and grown! We don’t have everything but we sure will try to find it; we love a challenge when it comes to finding that odd or different plant, tree or bush our customers want. We are here for our customers.
Treye Hanner: Where do you see your business growing from here? Will you continue to add more categories of products for customers to choose from?
Michelle Crosthwait: We are always looking for ways to improve. We have been blessed to be supported by the community and we participate and donate in community events, local church and school events, and anything else our community needs. We survived the economic changes and Covid challenges to which just made us stronger. We support our community for without the community’s support we would not be here.
Our plan for the future is to improve what needs improving here at Roo’s Place, find new ways to help the community, and will always try a new approach for any troubled areas here at Roos.
We hope to build a greenhouse this year which is very needed, and it would definitely help increase business and make our jobs a bit easier! This past year we added a cute little tractor, some new products, and several new chickens!
We also have started Pop-up shops and having yummy food trucks here too. We welcome any small business.