Better Than Bud Light: Twelve Baltimore-based LBGTQ+ Businesses to Support All Year Round

Previous Story
Article Image

Baltimore News: Walters Workers United, Church Ba [...]

Next Story
Article Image

The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles [...]

This weekend will be buzzing with Baltimore Pride events, from the Baltimore High Heel Race, Parade,  and Block Party on Saturday to the Pride 5k Run/Walk and Pride in the Park at Druid Hill on Sunday. In gearing up to celebrate and cover these capstone events, we have assembled a list of queer-owned and affiliated small businesses flourishing in all corners of Baltimore.


Thread Coffee, image sourced from IG



You may have already sipped on an espresso drink or a pour over made from their beans at a local coffee shop, but you may not know about Thread Coffee’s values as a roasting business. Thread is a woman and queer-owned Baltimore cooperative roaster and importer committed to ethically sourced coffee. By paying above fair-trade prices and reinvesting in farmer communities each year, they support smallholder coffee farmers and foster a genuine sense of economic stability.

Thread prioritizes the voices and contributions of women, members of the queer community, and BIPOC in their business practices to nurture a diverse and equitable work environment. If you make coffee at home, no matter the method, there are several shops you can purchase a bag of Thread Coffee beans from, including Charm City Books, Red Emma’s, Bird in Hand, The Wine Source, and Mom’s Organic Market.


The Gay Agenda, image from IG



The Gay Agenda, managed and operated by locally based artist MXBHVN, sculpts handmade soy candles and ceramics that are infused with principles of mindful living and empowering the true self. As an LLC they are working toward a more equitable future in part by donating a portion of sales to aligned organizations, such as TransMaryland.

On The Gay Agenda’s website you’ll find beautifully crafted mugs, tumblers, goblets, and bowls, alongside their signature candles. This online space also features their blog, entitled A Queer Perspective.


Wishbone Reserve, image sourced from IG



There is a treasure trove of vintage wonders and eclectic finds waiting for you at Wishbone Reserve in Hampden. Since 2015, this Falls Road utopia has been a must-visit destination for those seeking unique gifts and delightful surprises. From whimsical birthday cards for cat-loving moms and dads to faux ice cream sundaes for your inedible food collection to quirky modern furnishings, Wishbone enchants seekers of the extraordinary. Their thoughtfully priced selection encompasses a mix of trendy modern pieces and mid-century gems.


Red Emma's Bookshop, sourced from their Facebook page



Now located on Greenmount Ave in Waverly, Red Emma’s — a perennial Baltimore bookstore, cafe, and community events space — harbors connections, empowers individuals, and nurtures a vibrant community free from racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism. Cooperative decision-making is the cornerstone of this coffeehaus’s model, as every employee has a stake in ownership and a voice in shaping the space’s future.

Red Emma’s devotion to community and to dismantling oppressive systems extends beyond the radical books and delectable vegan food they sell. Among many other initiatives, Red Emma’s hosts the Baltimore Free School, which challenges traditional educational structures and champions a costless and non-hierarchical learning environment.


Inkycap Artist Coop products, image sourced from IG



Are you a local maker or an artisan looking for vending infrastructures and networks? InkyCap Artists Co-Op is a community of queer and trans artists in Baltimore and beyond who celebrate and uplift LGBTQ+ creativity through the Queer-Made Market, a series of enchanting pop-up events. InkyCap Artists CO-OP goes beyond providing a platform for artists. Their Instagram DMs are always open — they welcome market leads and local event information.


Neighborhood Fiber Co, image sourced from IG



Founded by Karida Collins in 2006, Neighborhood Fiber’s hand-dyed yarns embody a celebration of diverse neighborhoods and urban landscapes. Their fiber wonderland houses a vast range of 14 yarn bases, including GOTS-certified Organic Merino. Once inside their storefront, your knitting possibilities are quite literally unbounded.

Beyond their organic fibers, Neighborhood Fiber Co. uplifts the Baltimore community through the NFC Momentum Fund, which provides grants to local organizations for countering the impacts of systemic racism and supporting vulnerable populations. If you find yourself in the Bromo Arts District, know that you’re just a walk away from a kaleidoscope of multi-hued fibers to tackle the knitting projects of your wildest dreams.


Dreamers and Make-Believers, image sourced from IG



Nestled in Highlandtown Arts District, Dreamers & Make-Believers is a relatively new Baltimore comic shop, bookstore, and event space. Founded by Miranda Nordell, an advocate for inclusive literature and havens for queer community building, this lovely shop proudly offers a diverse collection of books with a special focus on graphic novels authored and illustrated by women and queer people.

If you’ve been foraging for a new book club or maybe just a fun spot for movie nights, check out Dreamers & Make-Believers’s offerings on Instagram, or just head on over to their storefront and talk to one of their booksellers!


Fruit Camp, image sourced from IG


Fruit Camp, a queer-owned tattoo collective and multidisciplinary studio in Remington, was established in 2019 by acclaimed tattoo artists Emi Lynn Holler and Georgia McCandlish. Their first-floor appointment-only tattoo parlor hosts client sessions and guest artists, while the second floor buzzes with the artistic endeavors of a diverse group of ever-revolving practitioners. Composed of individuals spanning diverse backgrounds, including those who are immuno-compromised, disabled, and affected by the healthcare system’s past and present injustices, Fruit Camp prioritizes safety and minimizes risks throughout the tattooing experience.

If you’ve been meaning to get your first tattoo but are nervous about the unpredictability of parlor culture, Fruit Camp fosters an environment that celebrates individuality and ensures a secure space for all. You can book your appointment online, but note that each tattoo artist at Fruit Camp has their own method for scheduling consultations and sessions.


Charm City Threads, image sourced from IG



We all find ways to spruce up our living spaces, clothing, and personal objects with varieties of adornments. But Charm City Threads — a Baltimore-based woman, Latina, and queer-owned small business — specializes in making and selling such garnishes and more at several local markets and pop-up events.

You can explore Charm City Thread’s collection of stickers, pins, patches, and vintage apparel and embrace the groovy vibes of their 70s houseware and barware on their Instagram, where they update their latest offerings and publicize what markets and pop-ups they participate in.


Namascents, image sourced from IG



Founded by Ash and Michelle in 2016, Namascents Candle Co. captures the essence of tranquility and self-discovery in their array of lifestyle candles and home fragrances. Local to Baltimore, queer, and Black woman-owned, Ash and Michelle’s Bohemian-modern aesthetic business sells handmade candles in small batches, using only the finest ingredients.

Each uniquely blended scent combination imbues spaces with warmth and good vibes. The products are packaged in reusable jars and bottles. You’ll find the power of light, relaxation, and enjoyment in person with Namascents Candle Co. at their studio, which is open on select Saturdays at Art @ 520 near Old Town Mall. To stay connected and up to date with their offerings, follow Namascents Candle on Instagram or sign up for their newsletter.


Fruit Leather, image sourced from IG



Fruit Leather is where queer joy and artistry intertwine. Founded in 2016 by Lyla Addada Shlon, a queer Arab artist based in Baltimore, MD, this online retail store offers handcrafted leather pieces that empower individuals to embrace the endless plurality of their desires and fantasies.

Fruit Leather was born out of a frustration with the limited accessibility of sizing in leather fetish, with a mission to create pieces that inspire confidence and comfort. Lyla’s designs celebrate diverse bodies, and each product is made to be customized to your measurements. No size is too small or too large. Follow Fruit Leather on Instagram for updates, inspiration, and a glimpse into the captivating world of this unique brand.


Open Works, image sourced from IG



As a nonprofit organization, Open Works is dedicated to nurturing and growing small businesses in the city. Whether you’re a seasoned maker or just starting out, Open Works provides the resources and support you need to bring your creative vision to life.

If you’re not a maker but hoping to support one or many who use the space, Open Works has an online store hosted in collaboration with Made in Baltimore. From handmade jewelry to beautifully crafted ceramics, this digital storefront offers a platform for makers to showcase and sell their creations, and connects them with a wider audience.

Beyond championing their makers’ products, Open Works is a catalyst for empowerment and education, offering workshops, classes, and collaborative spaces to help artists and small business owners refine their skills, develop their companies, and meet a community of like-minded individuals.

You can celebrate Pride Month with Open Works at their Happy Pride Month workshops, which will take place on June 23rd and June 24th.



All images sourced from social media pages

Related Stories
A Book for Art Nerds and Aficionados, as well as the Culturally Curious

Get the Picture: Bianca Bosker’s Journey Among Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Her How to See (February 2024 Viking)

Reflecting on the History of the American Labor Movement while Looking Ahead into the New Millenium 

Forged Together: Collective Action at the Baltimore Museum of Industry Reflects on the History of the American Labor Movement While Also Looking Ahead into the New Millenium    You hear, ...

An Enchanted Evening at the Creative Alliance in Photos by E. Brady Robinson

On Saturday April 27, the Creative Alliance hosted their signature gala event: The Marquee Ball, Baltimore’s costume party to end all costume parties.

Fourteen Works of Art of MANY Excellent Choices from the CA Annual Auction

A Subjective and Personal List of Auction Artworks in Preview that I would Love to Acquire!!!