Values Storying Spotlight: Southern Roots
The Southern Roots Story
A new friend looked at me last week and said emphatically, “You’re going to help people tell their stories!” Yes! Yes, I am.
One of those people is Scott Haley. Scott and his wife, Beth, are the owners of Southern Roots Nursery and Garden Center in Hernando, Mississippi. The Haleys opened Southern Roots in March of 2014 after a lengthy search for a name that embodied the values they wanted to express through their business. I’ve had the pleasure over the last few weeks to help them tell their story.
Scott Haley grew up in nearby Holly Springs and attended Northwest Community College in Senatobia on a football scholarship. While finishing his teaching degree, he did his student teaching in DeSoto County.
He has lived in Hernando for nine years and taught at Hernando Middle School for 14 years, coaching football and girls basketball for six years. He began a lawn care business, ATD (Attention to Detail), a little over eight years ago. With that business’s growth and with the opening of Southern Roots in March, he stepped away from teaching and coaching at the end of last school year in May. With so many relationships built through engaging with the local community, the Haleys wanted to convey the value of those relationships to permeate their new venture.
I did my student teaching here and fell in love with the town. –Scott Haley
Southern Roots: An Intentional Double Meaning
The double meaning of the Southern Roots name is immediately recognizable when you hear the crunch of gravel under your tires as you turn onto the property through the swinging gate at 2971 Holly Springs Road in the southeast corner of Hernando. Trees, shrubs, and flowers–in addition to a plethora of extras like birdhouses, bird baths, and wind chimes–are laid out in a natural setting. The main building looks like a good ol’ Southern home with a tin roof and a front porch with a genuine front porch swing frequently. That swing is frequently occupied by the resident mascot, a cat named Camellia. Named after the Southern shrub, Camellia turned out to be a BOY cat.
Southern Roots: Intentionally Local
The lobby area contains various works of art by various local artists. Southern Roots will always hold a special place in my career as a writer since they became the first retail outlet for Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), a distinctively Southern work of art in its own right. Another local touch not seen on the surface is Scott’s commitment to using Mississippi growers and suppliers when at all possible.
After their first few months in business, Scott and Beth wanted to kick off the fall season with an opportunity to thank the community that has embraced them as part of the local landscape. With the fall inventory arriving next week, Southern Roots is planning a Customer Appreciation Week. In sticking with the local theme of their business, Scott and Beth have planned a series of giveaways that partner with other businesses in the community to be a part of the local community’s life-changing events:
- A memory tree with plaque from Hernando business Sports of All Sorts to honor a loved one who has passed away.
- A red rose bush and a date night at a local establishment for a newly married couple.
- A hydrandrea bush (blue for a boy and pink for a girl) for someone who became a parent or grandparent in 2014, along with a gift certificate from Big Muddy Coffee Company, a “newborn” Hernando business.
- A fall planting collection for a new homeowner with mulch provided by Backyard Landscape Products on Nesbit.
- A full fall display and gift certificate to local favorite Buon Cibo restaurant.
The giveaways speak to the investment Southern Roots is continuing to make in the local community. On the Saturday of Customer Appreciation Week (Sept. 27), Southern Roots will provide coffee and donuts in the morning as well as hot dogs and soft drinks around lunchtime. They will be hosting a bags (cornhole) tournament with cash prizes and a book signing with yours truly as a way to highlight their business and to say thank you in person to their growing number of loyal customers.
Or–in keeping with the Southern theme–just drop by for a visit.
You never really know what a business’s message is until you’ve taken a peek behind the scenes as I have done in working with the Haleys these past few weeks. Now that I’ve seen how he and Beth want to positively impact their community by connecting generations to the uniqueness of living in the South, I’m a Southern Roots fan. It has been a privilege to help them tell their story. If you’re in the DeSoto County area, I encourage you to drop by Southern Roots to see what sets them apart.
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.