Talking to Bay Rose, you’d think she was a bit older than 32.
It has zero to do with her appearance — she wears a youthful smile and portrays a millennial’s self-confidence. Rather, it has everything to do with her life journey.
She mentions years working in a Bayport cupcake shop and at American Cheese in Sayville, while pursuing a certificate in holistic nutrition in New York City and an associate’s degree in culinary arts at Suffolk Community College.
Before that is Rose’s time working in the hotel industry in Denver, Colorado. That came after earning a master’s degree at a university in Florence, Italy.
Further back are the four years studying philosophy at Siena College. And then there’s her high school years — spent in France.
It’s exhilarating and at the same time exhausting to hear it detailed in one conversation. And what is particularly fascinating about her seemingly long trip of self-discovery is the reason we’re talking: Today, Rose, who really is just 32, has ended up right where she wanted to be all along.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a store owner,” said Rose, who on Saturday, Nov. 2, following a ribbon cutting ceremony in West Sayville will officially open Nettle & Rose, an herbal apothecary and holistic specialty shop.
“I remember my mom asking me when I was little, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ I always told her, ‘I want to have a store,'” Rose of Blue Point continued. “Just being able to interact with different people all day long was always really cool to me.”
Nettle & Rose, located at 77 West Main St. in a small freshly painted pink house, is a one-stop shop for herbal remedies and sweet and savory organic vegan treats that are gluten free, soy free, refined sugar free, natural flavor free, gum free and non-organic citric acid free.
The store will sell tinctures, salves, bulk herbs, all natural beauty and skin care products and its own line of powders and teas, while offering package-free provisions, such as bulk nuts, flours, dried fruits, and spices.
Aside from Rose’s childhood dream of operating a store, the inspiration for Nettle & Rose has come in stages.
When a debilitating mystery illness forced Rose to leave her corporate hotel job in Denver six years ago, she started consulting with a holistic nutritionist.
“I lost 20 pounds over three months, and then lost another 20 pounds over three weeks,” she said. “I was just not physically able to work anymore.”
Rose’s nutritionist trained her to use food to heal her body, she said.
“I cut out eggs entirely, dairy entirely, and just moved to cleaner sources of food,” Rose said. “I found a local farm where I got my meat from, and I switched to wholly organic vegetables.”
In about six months, Rose was feeling as healthy as she ever had. And then, she moved back to Long Island — to pursue the holistic nutritionist certificate in New York City.
Old eating habits crept back in, followed by the stress of planning her own wedding. She was also burning the candle at both ends, if you will, commuting to nutrition classes in the city and culinary classes at Suffolk, while working full time.
“I wanted to study holistic nutrition, so that I could pass along what I learned from my holistic nutritionist,” Rose said. “And then I wanted to round out my nutritionist certificate with a culinary degree, so that I could teach my clients how to cook their food.”
Some time in 2016 came the idea to tie all of this knowledge together with her lifelong dream of running a store. And so began Rose’s search for a place to set up Nettle & Rose. Unfortunately, the stress of her journey took its toll, and 2016 also came with chronic pain and a lupus diagnosis at 29.
Instead of medication, Rose has since healed herself through a very strict diet, and these days lives pain free.
“This store is representative of everything that has helped me heal,” she said. “That’s what I want to share with people. You’re suffering? You want to heal? Or you want more joy in life? Here are the things that brought a lot of joy to me and helped me heal.
“People shouldn’t have to sacrifice to be doing the right thing. What I’m offering here is a learning space,” Rose continued. “Come and learn how you treat your body better. Come and learn how you can do better for Mother Earth.”