Shop and Sip Roaring Pines

Drew Dayberry is an advertising man gone rogue.

He is the owner and operator of Roaring Pines, a general store and soda shop in Union Hill. Walking through the front door of Roaring Pines is like walking through time. The walls are made mostly of frosty gray-green pegboard decorated with American-manufactured goods: brooms, galvanized buckets, leather goods, and horsehair brushes. A bluegrass song plays in the background, and customers are sipping creamed and handcrafted specialty sodas at the bar.

Dayberry, wearing a denim jumpsuit, leans against the back counter as he recalls his journey from his days at a prestigious advertising agency to the person he is today: a husband and new dad, a small business owner in Richmond, and a passionate advocate for American manufacturing.

“I got burned out,” he shrugs. “I did commercials; I did banner campaigns … I did a bunch of stuff that never got produced. In advertising, about 90 percent of what you create doesn’t get implemented. It’s not a terribly fulfilling process. Some people love it, but it wasn’t for me.”

After leaving the ad agency, Dayberry stepped into his next venture: Poler Outdoor Stuff, which is exactly as it sounds. Poler is a company that makes gear and apparel for your general adventuring needs. It was during this time that Dayberry discovered some of the companies he still works with today.

“There were all these companies, which had been around for over 100 years, that had no interest in having a presence on the Internet,” explains Dayberry.

So, he decided to do it for them, and thus, Roaring Pines was born first as an e-commerce site and has since evolved to include a physical storefront and soda fountain in Church Hill. (Fun fact: “If you want to dig deep,” says Dayberry, “the name comes from a song in The Hobbit. How’s that for nerdy?”)

At his soda shop, Dayberry is determined to introduce quality American brands to a younger generation. “I can really talk your ear off about American manufacturing,” he says. “It’s a lot like how Richmond is today. There’s an establishment that won’t evolve just because things have been the same way forever. But there is a new generation trying to bring change and get things done. That’s true of both American manufacturing and of Richmond.”

Each of the products at Roaring Pines tells a story. The locker room baskets used to be made from barbed wire that cattlemen cut down in Texas. The guy who makes the electrical wires had trouble finding American-made plugs. There is only one whistle manufacturer in the United States, and there is actually a special machine that makes brass whistles by bending the metal into peculiar shapes.

Dayberry has carefully documented each of these stories along the way. He doesn’t just sell the products he believes in, he gets to know the motivation behind each of the manufactures and what drives them on day to day basis. In doing so, Dayberry gains a deeper understanding of the trials faced by manufacturers in the United States every time he adds a new product to his lineup.

Roaring Pines is much more than a quaint soda shop. It’s a quiet mission – a revitalization of an old business model. When you buy a broom at Roaring Pines, chances are you’ll have it for the rest of your life. Stop by and say hello to Dayberry. He’ll tell you all about the ladies in Vermont who make the syrup for his Black and Pink sodas and he’ll spin tales of American manufactured goods from around the country that deserve a proper audience.

CategoriesDrink Local, General, Live, Play, Shop Local

Molly is a writer and copyeditor based in Washington DC. She is pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism from Georgetown University. She also has a BM in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College, spent a year as a craft cocktail bartender, wrote an award-winning libretto, was an au pair in England, got kicked out of England, substitute taught at an all girl's private school, worked as an interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg for six years, and writes a bi-weekly newsletter about historical figures on vacation.