When Matt Parris founded Roots in 2006, it was with humble beginnings and a sweeping dream: to make the best hummus on the planet.
Fast forward twelve years, Roots has developed a cult following, broken ground on a 27,000 square foot manufacturing facility and warehouse, and is on track to become a national brand in the world of hummus.
“Initially it was a little counter service cafe and deli at a co-op in West Asheville,” said CEO Michael Portenfield. “We catered and sold wholesale products. That was the main focus for a couple years.”
Even then, people recognized the magic of Roots’ fresh taste–and devoured it.
After many significant and rapid rent increases, Roots relocated to its current location in the River Arts District, Michael said. The business continued to cater events and expanded the wholesale business through a relationship with Earth Fare in which Roots produced deli salads, dips, and sauces for several of their retail locations
“We began to package our own branded hummus in 2009. From that point, we began to grow into the company most people know today.” said Michael.
Roots’ traceable ingredients and creative flavors earned it the distinction as the one and only “microbrew of hummus,” featuring every flavor from Traditional to Coconut Thai Curry to Mango Sriracha. Through these products, Roots nourishes and supports the whole community.
The impact of this company’s product transcends far beyond the taste bud.
“The other part of our mission is to use our success to help transform our public schools into thriving community centers of learning,” said Michael, who helps spearhead the company’s educational non-profit, The Roots Foundation.
Roots accomplishes this goal by supporting teachers and helping them transition into project-based learning models. Projects include growing vegetables, tending gardens, and studying bee pollination–anything that gets kids outside and in contact with the natural world.
“Like so many parents, I want to help our schools become places that truly nurture and inspire our most precious resource – our children,” said Parris.
As a living-wage certified business, Roots also values the responsibility that comes with being an employer.
“Invest and reinvest in your team,” Michael said. “Your people are the most important part of the equation, and when people know you truly have their best interest in mind, you can accomplish everything together.”
Congratulations on winning June’s Small Biz of the Month, Roots! We hope one day the whole world will get to taste your hummus.