It was by chance that Clatsop County native Elisabeth Pietila saw the For Rent sign in the window of the historic Mary and Nellie Flavel Building on the corner of 9th and Commercial Street in Astoria. “That building was always empty. It was like Commercial actually started another block or two down,” she commented. In her surprise of seeing the sign she called the number and ended up on a tour of the building. “From that moment on it was like chasing a snowball down a hill.” That’s how Elisabeth describes how her new business, Wild Roots, began.
For Elisabeth Wild Roots is the result of years of working in the health field and with underserved populations. Elisabeth has a wide variety of experiences that include teaching recovery classes at a local crossfit gym, working as a doula, teaching mamalates, helping build a community health center, working in public transit and health, and raising her kids. When she finished massage school and was teaching group fitness classes, she found herself at a crossroads; that’s when she saw the sign at the Flavel Building and began creating the plan for her business.
Elisabeth felt like the space was meant to be from the very beginning. “I noticed that the address was 922, and my birthday is September 22. It just felt like it was meant to be,” she commented. She was one of the first tenants in the building, and because of that she got to be involved with the design process. “I didn’t want the space to feel like a typical spa. There are no paper lamps. No fountains. No stereotypes. I want to target the people who live and work here. We all deserve quality self-care.” The decor in the space is very green, much like the local area, and is meant to help people relax and get back to their roots. The name for the business stems from Elisabeth’s goals, “I want to tie bodies and nature together. We start with our roots and we have layers that add to our lives.”
The idea of making self-care accessible and affordable to everybody is a core principle of Wild Roots. “I want to bring in people who don’t consider body movement as a part of their day. Health is underserved for a lot of people and preventative care is where it’s at. I offer packages to meet the needs of different people,” Elisabeth described.
After a few delays in the process of remodeling the historic structure, Elisabeth opened Wild Roots on December 1, 2017. She currently offers four types of movement classes: Pound Fitness, Mamalates, Foga, and Wild Barre. She also offers different massage packages to appeal to different people. She offers standard 60 and 90 minute massages; a Breadwinner package that includes a 45 minute massage at an affordable price; the Matriarch/Patriarch package targets prenatal and postpartum mom and dads; The Whole Tribe provides a massage to the whole family; The Everyday Athlete targets active people; and she offers massages with specialty products that she sources as locally as possible. She also offers a package that combines a massage with unlimited classes for a month; this is currently the most popular package. She is flexible with her schedule to help be accommodating for her clients.
Her first month in business was beyond her expectations; 50 people came in and tried something new. Elisabeth is already thinking about what else the business can do, “I am looking to get a couple of instructors. I am looking for more ideas. Self-care is different for different people. Being somebody who has seen Astoria turn into this beautiful, popular, diverse space has been great. Hard work has been around me. Poets, activists, Longshoremen, all together. I want to create a similar space.”
A key part of creating a space like this means celebrating the local community. “When creating this space I tried to keep things as local as possible. I used a local graphic designer and was able to get some signs and materials printed locally. Even the oils I use for my massages are from a local shop.”
Wild Roots is located at 922 Commercial Street in Astoria. Follow Wild Roots on Facebook to stay up to date on all of the services Elisabeth provides.