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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

ROOTS SHOPPE Grows to Better Serve Community

May 01, 2020 04:03PM ● By Daralyn Chase

Established in June 2018, Roots Shoppe began as a small herb shop in Fort Walton Beach, offering herbs, herbal crafting supplies and bath products handmade by local artisans. Owner Jessica Villarreal-Hays says her goal has always been to empower others to create, grow and learn. Roots Shoppe has garnered so much support locally and abroad, she says, that it now works with an extensive network of various vendors and service providers to better serve its customers and the community as a whole.

"Small businesses supporting small businesses and community is a mission for Roots,” she says. “We aim to empower our customers to create their own products, infusing them with personal energy and intentions. We love to watch them grow and have even carried some of their products.” 

While Villarreal-Hays originally started the business to share her knowledge of herbs and educate people on their benefits and uses, great personal tragedy ultimately gave her a far broader sense of purpose. 

Jessica Villarreal and Jen von Nida

 Jen von Nida, a close friend of Villarreal-Hays who now helps her manage Roots Shoppe, recalls her forging ahead to launch her brand-new business, including hosting its long-planned grand opening, just one week after her father was killed in an auto accident. 

“Continuing on in the face of unexpected and devastating tragedy certainly was an uphill battle for her, but Jessica kept going, steadily gaining ground and growing,” von Nida says.

Just a few months later, Villarreal-Hays became a widow and a single mother to three small children when her husband, a Special Forces veteran, lost his life. 

“The sheer, life-shattering devastation alone could’ve absolutely wrecked what had only just begun,” von Nida says. “Jessica’s enormous strength, resolve and determination to carry on and create the best life for her children kept her pressing on. In the face of such adversity, to not only keep her head above water but to continue to grow her business and help her children not just cope but thrive, has been no small feat.” 

Empowering Other Women

Villarreal-Hays says she found strength she didn’t know she had—and her experiences have shaped the organic evolution of Roots Shoppe from a small herb store into a women’s empowerment and wellness center.

“We help women connect to their own Divine Feminine, to root down and stand up in their personal power in mind, body and spirit,” she says. 

Roots Shoppe serves men, women and children through various modalities, but it also reflects Villarreal-Hays’ driving passion: building women up to understand and support their full potential.

“Jessica models what she teaches and supports—not just women, but also veteran-owned small businesses,” von Nida says. “The shop offers free yoga classes specifically geared for veterans as well as natural options to support them in health and well-being.”

Roots has a yoga studio that offers classes for all skill levels, with several instructors and times to accommodate all needs. One of the many things that sets the studio apart is its midday and afternoon classes, designed to bridge the gap for people with nontraditional schedules, Villarreal-Hays says. 

In addition to yoga classes, Roots also offers a plethora of workshops on topics such as herbs, sexual empowerment, self-care, spirituality, and pregnancy and childbirth. Among the many other services provided are chiropractic, intuitive readings and yoni steaming. There’s a full calendar of events on the Roots website, along with a comprehensive herb menu and online storefront.

“Our shop is inclusive to all,” Villarreal says. “It’s vegan friendly, with an eclectic bohemian decor and super high vibrations. Nestled amongst nature, it offers a calm in the chaos.” 

Roots Shoppe is located at 357 Beal Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach, FL. For more information, call 850-863-1044, email [email protected] or visit 

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