Like so many of the Roots regulars, Kate was born and raised in Grand Rapids but had to move away to love the city all over again. She read an article in the Grand Rapids Press about the opening of Roots Brew Shop in 2016. She wanted to meet Mallory because she admired her for opening a coffee shop on the westside of Grand Rapids, where Kate’s mother grew up. “I thought to myself, dang, that is pretty cool that she started her own business. I want to meet her.”
Kate graduated from Michigan State University before earning her Master’s Degree in History from Northeastern University in Boston. Upon moving back to Grand Rapids, Kate got a job working in sales and marketing in the beer business. Looking for ways to get out of the office, she made a chart of coffee shops around town where she could do work. She made an elaborate list then ranked them on categories such as atmosphere, baked goods, lighting, quality of coffee, etc. On her assessment of Roots, she noted so many conversations going on around her and initially thought it may not be an ideal place for her. But she stayed a bit longer. “I noticed the atmosphere that had been built at Roots, that all those conversations going on were deep and that everyone felt comfortable enough to talk about real stuff in a public space.” And so, despite the less than perfect work condition score, she became a regular.
Kate has been back in Michigan for seven years and now works in video production as a Video Strategist. She made sure to note she uses her history degree every day. “When you are reading history books, especially paperbacks at Barnes and Noble, you are reading a person’s account of what they think happened in history. That’s what I do in sales. I argue why you should do something that I want you to do. I have been trained in reading data, facts and figures, and synthesizing them into a story that makes an argument for you to do something. Stories moving people to action.”
When she isn’t working, Kate enjoys active pursuits like cycling, hiking, and being in nature. She tends to be introverted and admitted she didn’t mind staying home so much this past year. She is excited about the growth, activity, and energy in the city of Grand Rapids. We talked about moving away and coming home and how that’s been for her. She mentioned how she is constantly thinking of ways to bolster the appeal of the city and how we can all support each other’s endeavors.
“I fear that my friends in larger cities look at my lifestyle choice to move back to the midwest as a cause for concern. I want to tell them that I made the right choice, a good choice, and to see this city as cool. I’m thinking of ways to engage people across the city and how others can see the good of this town.” She sees Roots as an integral part in that. “Roots, they keep showing up. That is so crucial in community. It’s hard and it takes work and commitment and stamina, but that’s what stands out to me…Roots keeps showing up.”
Build your favorite meal: My ideal meal would be home-cooked & shared. I would want to try something new and prefer no mushrooms, onions, or olives be involved.
Book you’d recommend: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel, and Testimony of Hope by Nguyễn Văn Thuận.
Person or thing that can make any day better: Meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary or finding a way to be of service to someone else.
Favorite thing about yourself: I like how I can live in the present moment and find adventure in the seemingly mundane.
Go to Roots beverage: Drip, black coffee. On days seeking luxury, regular latte with an extra shot of decaf- more coffee flavor, less caffeine.