As part of our #WhySI campaign sharing why Southern Illinois is a great place to live, work, and do business, we asked Allison Klaine-Cagle and Nancy Childers a few questions about their experience launching their new business, Muddy Roots Collective. Muddy Roots Collective is a specialty plant shop that also offers unique locally made goods in downtown Murphysboro, Illinois.
How do the Southern Illinois people, community, culture, and/or resources contribute to your success in running a business here?
Southern Illinois and the city of Murphysboro have been major sources of support for us on our journey to create Muddy Roots Collective. Murphysboro has both affordable housing and commercial space available which have been such advantages to us. Being able to pursue our dream and jump into a new business venture during a global pandemic wouldn't have been possible without these advantages.
I truly believe a great downtown relies on diversity of product, places, and people. The same street in Murphysboro that used to sit empty is now supporting a plant shop, comic book store, candy shop, a coffee shop, a hemp store, salons, vintage shops, beautiful boutique shops, and more. This is possible only with the support of the community.
The Murphysboro Main Street group has also been such a benefit, not only to us, but to all the incredible shops and businesses on Walnut Street in Murphysboro. They have a passion and vision for this community we love and promote our small businesses to a wide audience. Early on we also were also featured in an article in the Southern Illinoisan which drove so much business and attention our way before we even opened the door. There seems to be an endless supply of people wanting to watch local businesses succeed in Southern Illinois.
Why do you love running a business in Southern Illinois?
There are so many reasons we love running a business here, I would probably need to write a 20-page love letter to get it all out!
Muddy Roots Collective focuses on community and working to not just promote ourselves but also other local artists of all types. Everywhere we look it seems like we discover someone else doing something incredible that we can help promote and bring to a wider audience. The creativity in our surrounding community gives us an almost endless supply of ideas and energy to keep things exciting and growing. Southern Illinois is full of people doing great things and we feel so lucky to get to work around such incredible talent.
One of the biggest bonuses we've also seen is how supportive other SI businesses have been to us. There isn't a competition factor, everyone knows if one of us is flourishing that it benefits all of us through increased foot traffic and consumers spending more time in our downtown area.
We also believe Southern Illinois is undergoing a real local-based renaissance, be it restaurants, boutiques, shops, photographers, musicians, bars, artists, farms, really anything a local puts their heart into to provide to the public. Growing up here we saw a decline of local businesses and the rise of empty buildings and chains. We can see that the tide has turned for the area – people really care about their towns and making them better places to live in any way they can.
Why do you love living in Southern Illinois?
To start, the community is so great -- we have a modernized small-town vibe where people genuinely care about you and area always willing to lend a hand but are also incredibly welcoming to new people and ideas.
We are also in one of the most beautiful secret spots in the country. You can't tell me places like Inspiration Point, Camel Rock, Giant City, and Devil's Backbone won't eventually be places people seek out from all over the world. Or that Shawnee Cave Amphitheater won't be like a little version or Red Rocks drawing in major talent and crowds.
I can't go to any of those places without staring in awe and feeling so grateful to live in a place with such natural beauty. Within 20 miles I can kayak, repel, rock climb, swim in multiple lakes, and probably hike until my legs fall off. The area is just so full of life!