Third Root Community Center is a unique business. In an neighborhood filled with mom-and-pop style operations and businesses that are proudly owned by single people trying to make a different, Third Root's operation is a little different.
The center is a worker-owned cooperative of eight holistic healthcare practitioners. Practitioners specialize in different modalities including community acupuncture, health education workshops, herbal education programs, herbal and nutritional consultations, massage, private acupuncture and yoga in either a private and class setting.
"We have no boss, and we are each the boss, making collaborative decisions, and caring for our communities in a cohesive way," Third Root's recently revamped website notes.
To further enhance its offerings and prepare for future growth, the business recently modified its business structure, and co-directors Emily Kramer and Geleni Fontaine discussed just what those changes will look like.
"We're developing leadership in different ways," Fontaine said. "We're in a time of growth."
Kramer agreed, explaining that a new structure has been developed within the business. "For the first time, we've also appointed someone not part of the collective to an administrative position," she said. "We've also developed a rotaional directorship schedule."
The new directorship positions, currently held by Kramer and Fontaine, are a creative way to adopt more accountability in the day-to-day tasks that can sometimes fall by the wayside and in larger projects that need more attention, Kramer said. "It's helpful that no one is the only person in their modality," Fontaine said.
"Directors will take more responsibility in marketing, and take pressure off others in the collective," Fontaine said. "Directors will scale back in their own practices and those who aren't in the directorship position will focus on their practices."
Directors will rotate in on a six-month basis, and the rotation for the foreseeable future has already been planned, Fontaine said. "This is just going to improve the infrastructure and consistency of the business," Kramer added.
The Focus is Still on Healing
Though the managerial structure is being tweaked, the mission of Third Root remains the same: heal. The community center's mission is to provide "accessible classes and treatments to the Brooklyn community," especially to the community that the center calls home.
"What's exciting with this neighborhood is that it's diverse, and it's really exciting to be a part of that," Fontaine said. "It's great to create relationships with other businesses and to just see other businesses owned by actual people and not corportations or chains."
Kramer agreed, saying that the center constantly strives to be the kind of space that's welcoming. "We'd really like to build out that relationship," she continued.
Making those Goals a Reality
Third Root doesn't just hope to make that relationship stronger in the future, it's actively pursuing it.
"We were out at the Flatbush Frolic building relationships and being part of the community," Kramer said.
The center is also planning its annual Quiz show, aptly named Quizzo, a game show focused on community building, education and knowledge around healthcare and health justice. "There's trivia in there about Ditmas Park, there are prizes and teams compete," Fontaine said.
Though Quizzo scheduled for May, the pair is already thinking about ways to include the community and encourage as many people as possible to join in on the game show fun. "We have food and prize donations from local businesses," Kramer said, noting that people can come to be in the audience, too.
Also on the agenda is plans to celebrate Third Root's fifth anniversary. "We just celebrated our fourth anniversary in September, but we didn't put much behind it because we wanted to build up to the fifth anniversary," Fontaine said.
Overall, it all comes back to the community, Fontaine said. "There are so many demographics that are here and aren't shoved out, and respecting who the community is so important," she said. "You want to invest in the community in a big way in this neighborhood."