Root. A Community General Store
The number of people who believe in downtown Fresno, and are willing to make a contribution to its revitalization, grew by two last week. On Thursday during ArtHop, Kirk and Cassey James opened the doors to their Fulton Mall shop, Root. Sandwiched between Peeves and Parsley Garden Cafe, the couple’s general store and print making studio fills out the small corner of the mall that has become ground zero for the revitalization movement.
Kirk and Cassey met as teenagers at Buchanan High School in Clovis. After graduation, they would both go to Los Angeles for school and spend years there pursuing various creative ventures in fashion design and styling. On a visit home, the couple realized Fresno might hold more potential for them than L.A. and, after finding the perfect house, they moved back and set up shop (as it would turn out, literally) in the Valley.
With Root, what’s old is new again. The general store concept, something often associated with the Old West or small town America, has been made over by consciously-minded creatives. At Root, there’s an emphasis on locally-made artisan goods, whether that be beauty products or a pair of jeans. There are also books, magazines, jewelry, and items for your home. The design studio within the shop will offer various print making services and monthly workshops will be held so that not only can you buy things, but you can learn to make them yourself.
As for the name of the shop, you can probably guess the meaning behind it. The couple says it’s a reference to the roots they are returning to and the new ones they hope to put down. You might also say they are Root-ing for downtown. And it’s clear that other businesses in the area are rooting for Kirk and Cassey, too.
Here, the couple talks about the inspiration behind the shop, the competition they entered that forced them to really focus their business plan, and what they hope people will get out of their shop.