We know Asheville is pretty fruity (and we love it!). That’s why we are highlighting a few fruity businesses and co-ops ripe for your picking! Keep reading to see our guest contributor, Camille Nevarez-Hernandez’s top picks for queer-owned businesses in Asheville.
Palm and Pine | 178-B Westwood Place (West Asheville)
Looking for plants, lemonade, cute sunglasses, and more? This is the place for you. This art-driven plant shop was founded by Meghan McIver and Lindsay Riley. They offer many plant-related design and maintenance services, guaranteeing to make your space a little more green and vibey. They can also ensure you have the best layout for your plants, which, let’s be honest, you’ll keep killing without their help. Stop by for a perfect place to help fix all your plant parent mistakes and educate yourself on best plant care.
Soulful Simone Farm | Online + In store at Art Garden 191 Lyman Street (River Arts District)
This Queer Black owned flower and herb farm is run by Tamarya Sims (also known as @plantswithT on Instagram). This is a healing and educational farm offering fresh cut flowers, medicinal herbs, herbal medicine, environmental and farm education, and safe community space for BIPOC and Queer folks. You can shop their tinctures right now at Art Garden, a cute shop featuring many local vendors. They also sell teas, salves, stickers, t-shirts, and more! Keep an eye out for their online shop opening up soon. If you want to support Soulful Simone in other ways, there are also many volunteer opportunities and a go fund me to help secure a large piece of land to expand their business even more!
Cenzontle | 528 Emma Road (Emma)
Confused by what you’re looking at? If so, let’s dive in! This is a Language Justice tool called a receiver people can use to hear live interpretation while an event is happening. Language Justice is the commitment to inclusive multilingual spaces so that we may feel free to bring our whole selves into the room. Cenzontle is a great queer-owned language justice co-op who provides interpretation services, translation services, and capacity building to organizations who are seeking to integrate Language Justice principles into their work. Working with them will ensure inclusivity of Spanish-speaking folks in your organization, community, and events.
Torched | 1056A Haywood Rd (West Asheville)
While Torched AVL may be the new kids on the block, they’re already making a name for themselves in the Asheville art scene. The space, which aims to promote community through art, specializes in jewelry and metalsmithing classes for all skill levels. The owners Meredith Tibjash and Nora McMullen want to be the bridge for affordable and quality art classes in Asheville, offering classes in numerous mediums for a good price.Want to teach your own class? This is the perfect space to try it out; working alongside Meredith and Nora you can create your own curriculum and test run your first class! If you aren’t ready to teach or take a class, you can ease into the space by doing a walkthrough of their gallery featuring a variety of art.
Emote | 508 Haywood Road (West Asheville)
This Queer arts and secondhand store isn’t your average shop. This West Asheville gem is a community space that hosts events ranging from music nights and poetry readings to massage pop-ups and clothing swaps. That’s not all though, they also have a rotating mix of artists who set up booths to sell their own merchandise at the front of the store. My two favorite things about Emote are their “name your own price” rack, which makes sure everyone can shop their cute items regardless of price, and the Asheville for Justice rack. All the proceeds from that rack go to Asheville for Justice, a local mutual aid network. Make sure to check them out to get the flyest fits in town.
Firestorm 610 Haywood Rd (West Asheville)
This Queer-operated bookstore co-op and social movement space has been around since 2008. You can [lit]erally spend hours looking through their books, many of which are written by Queer authors. You can find titles that range from prison abolition and mutual aid to fiction novels (to escape from the world for a little while). There’s also an extensive section for the kiddos. Only calling Firestorm a bookstore and failing to mention all the community work they do would be a disservice to everyone, though. This space hosts many community-oriented events like movie screenings, Political Prisoner Letter Writing sessions, Asheville Prison Books Packaging Parties, and reading groups. If you’re looking to dig deeper into the systems we have to navigate, so make sure to stop by!
Homebody Art Collective | 1 Tingle Alley (Downtown Asheville)
This newly opened tattoo shop is home to four talented artists: J (@softanimalbody_), Gabby (@tatsbygab), Taylor (@peaceflowertattoo), and Thorn (@skunkhoney). Their dream was to build a shop where people of all body types can come and build a community centered around art. Along with adorning bodies with beautiful art, this space will be used to host community events, organize fundraisers for mutual aid, and showcase local artists!
7 Queer Owned Businesses in Asheville Recap
Editor’s note: While there are tons of businesses in Asheville to choose from, sometimes (okay, often) we want to visit places that do more than just allow us into them. What feels the best to us is when a place is also affirming which is why we chose to highlight queer-owned businesses in Asheville. Stay tuned as we continue to update our page on LGBTQ+ safe spaces and businesses here. And as always, leave a comment, pin, share, or save for later. Like this? Check out some of Camille’s other work: 7 Best Latinx Restaurants in Asheville, NC
Camille Nevarez-Hernandez (she/her/ella) I’m a Puerto Rican visual storyteller who values community, creativity, and breaking down barriers. I love to capture raw moments and culture through my pictures. Due to moving around a lot while growing up, I don’t have a set place I fully call home – I find home in the people I meet, the food I eat, and the moments I experience. I’m passionate about documenting anything and everything that encompasses. I am open to doing jobs around photography, writing and video production.
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