By Katy Macek | Photography by Hillary Schave
Tami Gruber and her daughter, Toni Harris, have always been “overly close,” they say; two creative minds in a pod.
“Me and my mom work super well together,” Harris says, before Gruber jumps in to add: “We feed off each other.”
So when Harris’ dad finally bought her mom a retail space for her dream shop, it was only natural for Harris to come help out.
Now, the two run Simply Rooted & Co., a home décor shop in Spring Green. It’s just down the road from the Spring Green Motel, which Gruber and her husband, Fred, also co-own.
“It’s fun now to watch my mom live her dream … and being [at] her side helping her do this. I’m very proud of her,” says Harris.
They also balance each other out. While she says her mom is sweet and soft spoken, Harris is decisive.
Growing up, Harris watched Gruber raise her and her four siblings, attending every single event and creating a close-knit family that’s remained tight to this day.
Owning her own specialty shop has been a dream of Gruber’s for many decades, but she says she set it to the side while raising her children and subsequently running the motel for years. Then, fate intervened: A storefront became available.
“My dad was like … hey Tam, I bought you a gift shop,” Harris says.
Things moved smoothly from there, and Gruber opened Simply Rooted in April 2022.
All of Harris’ siblings and her dad help out at the shop, but it’s Harris who is by Gruber’s side on a regular basis.
Gruber feels like she’s found her stride, and she enjoys that her grandkids can now come hang out at the shop, too.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Gruber says. “At night when I’m all alone [at the shop], turning the lights off and walking around, it just feels really good to be at this spot in my life.”