JUSTIN HUFFMON AND HIS WIFE, NENADA, were traveling in Rome, indulging in espresso shots, when they realized the extent of Italy’s devotion to coffee. “They’ll charge no more than one and a half euros per shot,” says Huffmon, a former bartender and beverage connoisseur. “The Italian government sees coffee as a quality of life, so they want it to be accessible.”
Inspired by that tradition, Huffmon imported it to his hometown of Ruidoso and opened the first Roots location in October 2020. Described as a “plant store with an espresso habit,” the eclectic home decor space invites you to pop in for a caffeine jolt (try Huffmon’s favorite, Café Cartel) or to soak in the garden-party vibes with groovy music and more than 20 varieties of flora, including monsteras, bird’s-nest ferns, succulents, cacti, and air plants.
“When we signed the lease on the space, my wife and I put on our ‘drinking caps,’ asked ourselves, ‘What are our vices?’ and pulled out a spreadsheet,” recalls Huffmon, who enjoys plants for the joy they evoke and the memories they hold.
The rest of the shop is filled with the couple’s favorite products—paintings by local artist Michael Fish, coffee soap hand-poured in Roswell, sage sticks crafted in Santa Fe, and more. “We want to support as many small vendors as possible and tell their stories,” he says. “We capture our customers’ eyes and imaginations.”
It seems to be working. Roots recently expanded to Golden, Colorado, but still celebrates Huffmon’s ties to New Mexico, which go back at least seven generations. “We maintain a strong identifier of where we come from,” he says.