Nikita E. Thomas is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, owner of Gods Green EarthRX and RootedAF., and is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE. Read her story below.
“I was born in Newark, New Jersey, and spent most of my life between Jersey and Atlanta. My journey to Wilmington came from me following my heart and trusting God. I had been living in Atlanta for the past 5 years or so, and although my career path was promising as a Regional Sales Manager, I had the feeling that I was meant to do more. I trusted that feeling and went back to school for Holistic Nutrition, and like a classic millennial, I resigned and moved back in with my parents. After school, I started Gods Green EarthRX, a plant-based apothecary. As the business began to grow, I noticed we had an overwhelmingly positive response from the Wilmington community. Although many of them were my customers, I felt like I had found my tribe and that was all I needed to make the move.
Coming to a new city where you do not know anyone is very challenging. To be honest, I had to navigate some pretty awful relationships, but I am proud because I did not waver. Nothing about any of those situations impacted my optimism. Through that optimism, I have connected with people that I believe will be around for a lifetime. Professionally, I have accomplished a lot in 2 years. I have 2 major moments that have brought me so much joy. On December 1st, 2022, I opened a Vegan Restaurant called Rooted AF., which is a conscious vegan restaurant and herbal market located right in the heart of Wilmington. The second is winning the largest pitch competition in Delaware called Pitch or Ditch, where entrepreneurs hit the stage for 7 minutes and discussed the value of their business to a panel of judges. At that time I had been working vigorously to build the brand of Gods Green EarthRX, however, because we did not have a brick-and-mortar location, our work stayed under the radar until that moment!
Three interesting facts about me are:
1. I went to the University of Oxford after my undergraduate degree in international studies.
2. I played football as a running back, and I am good!
3. I have about 20 tattoos at this point.
Most days I am working at the restaurant but on the way to Rooted AF. I pass by the park and I love a good workout at Brandywine Park. I would definitely consider it one of my favorite places in the city. Sometimes, I just pull over to the side of the road and enjoy the peace by the water. The weekends for me consist of preparing vegan desserts at Rooted AF for Sweet Saturdays. But after the peach cobbler and sweet potato cheesecakes are made, a girls got to have brunch. So I head over to brunch at Blume. After stuffing myself, I like to walk off the calories and head to The Riverfront and I might just stop by Drop Squad Kitchen to get that Sea Mossaccino. IT IS AMAZING!
I continue to choose Wilmington because of the support! I have never experienced support and loyalty the way I have here. I have customers that have been here since 2019 rooting for every move that I make. For example, Keena is a customer that I met when I started the apothecary. She messages me an encouraging message EVERY SINGLE DAY. When I opened Rooted AF., she bought her entire family multiple times as well as referred many others. It is people like that, that keep me going both professionally and personally. Additionally, Wilmington has really taken me in and formed a community of creators and entrepreneurs around me. As a creative myself, sometimes I need collaborators to make my vision come to life, and the city of Wilmington has rallied around these ideas and bought them to fruition. One of my most recent ideas is to have a cultural block party. It was a staple in my upbringing and it exposed me to all sorts of foods, music, and people. We’ve got to get people back out of the house. Sunlight is so important to our happiness and our healing.
Wilmington chose me. It is my co-creator on this journey to empower people to heal themselves. Doors continue to open organically, and I trust that energy. I am reminded daily that Wilmington wants me to be here and I gratefully accept its invitation.
As Wilmington continues to grow, the biggest thing I’d like to see is the representation of black culture and black business. The city of Wilmington is approximately 65% African American, and it is vital that the youth continue to see themselves represented in the businesses, programming, and infrastructure for years to come. This is why companies like Barclays Bank, who have taken a vast interest in minority business, are so important. I’d love to see our city be a reflection of the people that it serves and to see those people in positions of ownership. I am excited to see what the city intends to do with all its potential.
My advice to Wilmingtonians is this: It’s easy to think that Wilmington doesn’t have much to do, but you can join organizations like The Connect to form relationships that point you in the direction of the things you enjoy doing and if you can’t find what you like to do, CREATE IT.”
Nikita is one of the 14 featured participants in the upcoming James Beard Foundation Sunday Supper, which will be taking place at The Chancery Market on Sunday, April 23, 2023. You can learn more about the Sunday Supper and buy tickets here.
You can keep up with Nikita on Instagram, and follow RootedAf. on Instagram.