Derek and Rebecca with their two sons and dog. (Photo courtesy of Derek Marsik)
For Derek Marsik, selling produce is what he’s done most of his life.
Marsik and his wife, Rebecca, opened Roots Produce in April 2020 – a month into the pandemic. “I’m 33, and I’ve been doing this since I was 12, except for my four years in the Navy,” he states. He graduated from Athens Technical College with an associate degree in marketing management and tried other jobs before returning to the produce business. Located at 703 North Belair Road and Evans to Locks Road near a shopping center, Roots sells a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as items from several local producers. That includes handmade soaps from Trevathan Goat near Louisville and honey from Scott Family Farm in Waynesboro.
Marsik buys his produce from farmer’s markets in both Atlanta and Columbia, though he prefers the one in Columbia. He says people often ask him why he doesn’t buy produce directly from local vendors. “Bananas don’t grow locally; avocadoes don’t grow locally,” Marsik says. By shopping at larger markets, “People like me don’t have to drive to 15 different places.” Besides selling products from local vendors, he also allows them to sell those products at his business. “On Saturdays, I usually have four or five vendors and don’t charge them anything,” Marsik explains. One of these vendors is The Pot Smoker BBQ, which has two locations in the CSRA: North Augusta and Aiken.
Before Marsik opened Roots Produce, he owned a similar business called Green Peas Produce in Loganville near Atlanta for about a year and worked for another business called Three Peas in a Pod in the same town. Marsik enjoys owning a small business and “having control of what I’m doing,” he says. Rebecca runs the cash register, and the couple gets to know their customers. “I get great feedback” from customers, Marsik says. Just about “Everybody loves us.” They also get along well with their employees. “I respect them, and they respect me,” he adds.
Roots is open Monday and Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, find their page on Facebook or call 706-386-1757.