7 LGBTQ+-Owned Small Businesses To Support This Pride Month
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a wild imagination and, consequently, a lot of big ideas. While this prepared me to be a natural entrepreneur, it wasn’t always enough to make me confident in my ability to pave my own way. After all, it was incredibly rare for me to see folks like me, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, successfully running small businesses in my rural town.
It wasn’t until I met my first LGBTQ+ small business owner, at a Pride event, that I realized that I could turn my big ideas into a business. This is exactly why supporting LGBTQ+ small businesses is so important, not only so that the world can continue to enjoy their amazing goods and services, but so kids like me don’t have to grow up thinking business ownership is out of reach.
This Pride Month, and beyond, I encourage you to try your best to support LGBTQ+-owned small businesses. Here are some of my favorites.
1. Little Woodfords – Portland, ME
When my husband and I first moved in together, we were right down the street from Little Woodfords. I quickly found myself finding every excuse to walk by them, that way I could pop in for one of the most delicious cups of coffee that I have ever had (seriously, their coffee is incredible).
However, what I love about Little Woodfords, even more than their coffee, is the community that they have built from within their tiny little shop. When you walk in, you are greeted with a genuine smile that sticks with you the entire day.
2. Queer Candle Company – New York City, NY
Founded by couple, Ab and Al, Queer Candle Company makes some of the best smelling candles on this planet. If you love candles as much as I do, it will be your new favorite place to shop. Trust me, as soon as you burn their Sweet Grapefruit & Mint soy candle, you won’t want to buy from any other shop.
Supporting Queer Candle Company isn’t just about filling your home with delicious scents. When you buy from them, you are not only supporting Ab and Al, but you are also supporting other members of the LGBTQ+ community. The business is proud to employ other LGBTQ+ people, to work hard at building a sense of community amongst themselves and other similar businesses, and to donate 10% of their profits to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.
3. Wish Me Luck Tattoo – Chicago, IL
In Chicago, Illinois, it isn’t hard to find a tattoo shop. If you ask me, however, Wish Me Luck Tattoo is where I would book my next session. Wish Me Luck is Chicago’s first Black/Indigenous, queer, and trans-owned shop, and is welcoming to people from all walks of life.
What makes this shop truly special, besides the beautiful art that walks out of it, is its owner, Faith. Faith decided it was time to open her shop after experiencing racism, homophobia, and transphobia at other tattoo shops. So, she hit the ground running and didn’t look back. What she has built is a tattoo shop that is not only inviting to all people, but is a safe place for those who feel unwelcome in other shops to get tattooed.
4. Guardian Brewing Company – Saugatuck, MI
If you love craft beer, good food, and live music, you will want to head towards the shores of Lake Michigan, just 36.5 miles from Grand Rapids. There lies Guardian Brewing Company, which opened in 2018, and features an extensive draft list of 22 craft beers, 14 wines, and 2 hard ciders. Not only that, but they offer cocktails made of local (and imported) liquors, absolutely delicious food, and a 3,500 square foot patio that is dog-friendly. It even features a six-foot gas-fired fire pit!
Best of all: when you visit Guardian Brewing Company, you are also helping support their efforts to make a difference in their community. Every year, they accept applications for philanthropic partnerships where they’ll donate to local organizations. Past recipients have included companies like Saugatuck Center For The Arts, Black Visions Collective, Out On The Lakeshore, and more.
5. Spellbound Sky – Los Angeles, CA
Along Santa Monica Boulevard is Spellbound Sky, a metaphysical shop owned by Mark Phillips and Martin Anguiano. For anyone looking to indulge in a little magic, Spellbound Sky is the perfect place to stop. You’ll find crystals, minerals, ritual candles, and much more.
Mark and Martin chose to open Spellbound Sky back in 2011 after over 20 years in the fashion industry in LA. They both had a mutual love for all things metaphysical and wanted to take the plunge and finally open their doors so they could share their vision with their community.
6. SuLei – Walla Walla, WA
I’m a huge lover of wine, so I felt like I had to include a winery. When I came across SuLei, I knew they were the perfect choice! For Elaine and Tanya, opening a wine cellar seemed like a natural transition, especially since they spent all their time researching (and tasting) wine anyway. The name SuLei was created by Elaine and Tanya to celebrate their partnership. It’s a synonym for “Sulis Minerva”, a Celtic goddess.
With red and white options, paired with names such as “Beet Red” and “Roller Girl Jammer”, you’ll find that SuLei has a lot to offer. Elaine and Tanya use both old and new world techniques when making their wine, and are deeply proud to be one of the growing women-owned and operated wine cellars in Washington.
7. Big Gay Ice Cream – New York City
Big Gay Ice Cream is quickly growing beyond small business status and it is more than easy to see (and taste) why. Their ice cream, which comes in soft serve at their locations, is some of the best that I have ever tried. My favorite? The Monday Sundae, a crispy waffle cone, lined with Nutella, filled with chocolate and vanilla twist, drizzled with dulce de leche, and adorned with whipped cream. What takes this cone sundae over the top, though, is the finishing touch – a sprinkle of sea salt. It is an out-of-body experience.
Big Gay Ice Cream goes beyond just supporting your taste buds and strives to make a real difference in the world. When you support Big Gay Ice Cream, you are also supporting their efforts to aid LGBTQIA+ organizations, education, homelessness and hunger initiatives, children, animal shelters, and more.
You don’t have to live by a Big Gay Ice Cream location in order to enjoy them, though. Big Gay Ice Cream now sells pints in stores.
Above are just a small handful of LGBTQ+-owned businesses throughout the United States, but it is by no means a comprehensive list. This Pride Month, I encourage you to venture out into your community to find the LGBTQ+-owned business local to you, and to show them your support.
After all, you aren’t just supporting LGBTQ+ business owners, but you are showing the kids with big ideas that their businesses can be successful.