Long Island candle company opens brick-and-mortar store


Michael McPolin’s story is similar to that of the TV show “Shark Tank”: the owner of a small candle business starts making his product at home on the stove, then he lands a deal with Whole Foods.

But the Yaphank resident didn’t need to appear in “Shark Tank” or the sharks to make a splash. Whole Foods called it.

“I think the products were spotted by one of their buyers at an independent retailer in Manhattan,” McPolin, 31, owner of Roote at Center Moriches. “Whole Foods in Commack contacted us to test the product, then it went to three or four stores. Now it’s in about 40 stores” across the country. Its handmade products are also sold through small retailers nationwide and in Canada and include natural soaps, bath bombs, lotions and body scrubs.

And when the pandemic hit, McPolin said his company had bigger sales than expected.

“A lot of Mom and Pop and Main Street stores were closed and the only thing open was grocery stores, so people were doing a little more than shopping,” McPolin said. “They wanted to be calm and relaxed.”

The business started in 2016 as Birch & Main at The Shoppes at East Wind in Wading River. It was moved two years later to East Main Street in Port Jefferson, then in 2020 it moved to its current 1,500 square foot space at 378 Main Street in Center Moriches, where the company was renamed Roote. The new site is home to McPolin’s production studio where he still manufactures his products with the help of three other people. At the front of the building is a showroom and retail store which opened in June.

McPolin says Roote’s roots go back to his own love of candles.

“I’m a candle freak,” says McPolin. “I have lit candles in almost every room all the time.” He started making candles as a hobby eight years ago and gave them as gifts to his family and friends.

Diffusers are also available for those who want scent in a room but don’t want to burn a candle. For McPolin, however, there is no such thing as a real candle.

“A candle just enlivens a space and creates a mood, an atmosphere,” says McPolin. “And you can find a scent for any time of the day or the year.”

Prices for Roote candles range from $ 20 to $ 32, and body care products range from $ 8.50 for a bar of body and mood mist soap for $ 26. Hours of operation are Thursday to Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday noon to 4 pm and private purchases can be arranged by appointment; 631-909-2018, rooteofficial.com.

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