CHAPEL HILL — Liz Blakemore always believed she lived a healthy lifestyle and made sound food choices.
But while trying to lose weight after giving birth to Presley, her now 3-year-old daughter, Blakemore’s research made her realize she was missing something.
“I ended up losing 85 pounds and completely changed the way that I saw nutrition,” she said.
Which, in turn, led to Roots — the new cafe she’s just opened.
“We’re just trying to open people’s eyes and knowledge and mind to good nutrition and what they’re missing because 95% of Americans are missing out on some parts of their nutrition,” she said. “They have a lot of vitamin deficiencies, mineral deficiencies, that kind of thing. So this is definitely a holistic way of looking at your nutrition and your overall health.”
On Saturday, she and her family stood together for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of Roots, her first business venture. Located off of U.S. Hwy. 15-501 in Chapel Hill at 69 Knox Way, about 16 miles north of Pittsboro, Roots serves up high-protein and low-calorie goodies, ranging from shakes and teas to healthy waffles and donuts.
Blakemore realized through her health journey she wanted to create a product and a space where others could pursue their own path to better nutrition — and in turn, a healthier lifestyle.
Roots’ menu is full of low-calorie, low-sugar, and high-protein shakes, treats and teas. From shakes with caramel pretzels and sprinkles to high-fiber waffles and donuts, Roots offers a wide range of healthy meal alternatives for Chatham residents. Most menu items at Roots are $15 and under, which Blakemore says is part of an effort to make nutritious meal alternatives more affordable to everyone.
“I want to help people get good nutrition,” Blakemore said. “I want them to learn about nutrition and see that good nutrition doesn’t always have to taste gross.”
Menu items are protein-rich, low calorie, low carb and high fiber, ensuring customers are receiving the good stuff — including vitamins — they need in their diet. Blakemore said this regimen was crucial in her own journey to losing weight, and she wanted to make sure her products reflected what she consumes on a daily basis.
“All of our stuff is protein-based, but it’s soy protein, so it’s not difficult to digest,” Blakemore said. “It definitely gives you different vitamins and minerals that you might not be getting from just eating normal food every day.”
The cafe itself has a home-like vibe — from the large wooden counter with stools to the love seat facing the glass wall at the front door. But that’s not what makes Roots unique — it’s one of the only shops of its kind in Chatham County, Blakemore said, because only two other retailers in the county sell similar products.
She’s glad she’s able to provide something unique to the community.
“Every single day I find new customers coming in, which I absolutely love,” Blakemore said. “I would love for them to come here and get to know us, to feel like it’s a safe place to sit down, do homework, have meetings, use our Internet and just hang out.”
Cindy Poindexter of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce was present at the ribbon cutting Saturday, and thanked business owners like Blakemore for establishing business ventures in Chatham County.
“I think you’re going to enjoy the samples of all the healthy shakes … teas, desserts, all kinds of good stuff,” Poindexter said. “Please come out and support her and her investment into our community.”
Sheriff Mike Roberson also participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, saying he was excited about Blakemore’s business.
“I’m really glad you’re literally putting down roots in Chatham County,” Roberson joked. “I hope it’s a success, and I know with your family’s support and what you’ve got going on here, you’ve got good help.”
Blakemore said she was looking forward to hosting events at her cafe and helping educate the community on her passion for better nutrition and tasty treats.
“I am so grateful to be bringing in a healthy option that is easy and quick to our community so that you can feel good about the nutrition going into your body,” she told customers on Saturday. “It has definitely changed my life that I want to change the lives of the people in Chatham County and surrounding areas … I’m just so grateful and thankful for everybody, and I can’t wait to see our business grow.”
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.
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