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Queer & Local: Businesses you should be proud to support

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Pride Month is often a time of "rainbow capitalism": like the Christmas season, companies fall over one another to sell their products to the demographics that celebrate the occasion.

However, it's hard to get excited about a new Pride selection when this "support" is subject to a cost (potential outrage)—benefit (LGBTQIA+ dollars) analysis. So we've searched high and low and selected various Queer-owned businesses that deserve to be shown some love. Whether you're looking for clothing in Seattle or in the market for a haircut on Vashon Island, these enterprises stand out.

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Mosé Auto, Georgetown
Vehicle repair and maintenance can be a stressful experience, especially if you know little to nothing about how cars work and/or are feminine presenting.

But the dread of mentally preparing yourself for the possibility of getting a shady mechanic who thinks you're a sucker is over. Mariajose Barrera, the owner of Mosé Auto in Georgetown, has your back. Whether you need a repair, general maintenance, or auto body detailing, the company's motto is "Automotive repair for every human," and it lives up to that.

The crew at Mosé Auto thinks of everything. They use the most up-to-date diagnosis software for your vehicle, and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts so as not to compromise your warranty. These parts are sourced locally or from Mosé's own warehouse to keep your money in the community. All of its work comes with a three-month or 12,000-mile guarantee, and all its parts come with a manufacturer guarantee.

The best part is that the business is committed to not leaving you in the dark. It offers basic classes focusing on empowering women to maintain their vehicles. As Barrera states, "Growing up in a family-run business has taught me the value of providing high-quality services with the best value possible, along with friendly advice. At Mosé Auto, we are committed to our community."

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Wellspring Midwifery, Federal Way
Starting a family is a big decision, and navigating bringing a new life to the world can be scary. Midwives Elliott Leslie and Lizz Fay will guide you through this process with "anti-racist, queer-centered, and anti-oppressive care." One testimonial on their website states, "I felt like I was being treated more like a person than an incubator for the real patient." They offer prenatal care; home and birth-center birth; and monitrice, postpartum, and newborn care.

The midwives are committed and available 24/7 for all your needs, and they believe in tailoring their services to each family's unique structures and values. They also ensure that you are informed every step of the way and have a full say in how you build your family.

You can have your baby in the birth center or your home; water births are also an option. If hospital treatment is needed, the midwives will provide a smooth transition to in-hospital care and accompany you there. Throughout the journey, Leslie and Fay provide trauma-informed counseling and all the resources needed for all decisions, including if the pregnancy does not go according to plan.

They also continually educate themselves on anti-oppression care and show accountability through self-audits. They acknowledge the struggles of low-income families, and Washington Apple Health Care fully covers all of their insurance-based care.

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Shikorina Pastries, Central District
Everyone remembers that recent rise in baking, so to speak. While many of us were stuck at home during the early pandemic, Hana Yohannes pivoted to make pastries her career. With the help of the Pastry Project, a program that offers free training, and a successful GoFundMe campaign, she started Shikorina Pastries. The shop is located in a home, and her products all give off that welcoming vibe. "I really want this to be a place where everyone feels welcome," Yohannes said in a 2021 interview with KING-5 News.

Yohannes is devoted to sharing the support she was given to start her business with the broader community through sustainability, ethical ingredients, and affordability. The bakery aims for zero waste and only uses two single-use items: compostable parchment paper and gloves. All its products' packaging is either reusable, compostable, or recyclable. Any glass jars from the shop can be returned for a discount on your next order. All the ingredients come from local, organic, or fair-trade sources.

Yohannes believes in providing an inclusive experience, so no matter any allergy or diet restrictions you may have, you are sure to find something sweet.

The chocolate Shikorina uses is from Seattle-based Theo Chocolate, and the plant-based sprinkles are from Seattle-based India Tree. Its wheat flours are bought from Central Milling, an employee-owned company in Utah.

The employees make everything from gluten-free cinnamon rolls to their most popular menu item, homemade pop-tarts. Shikorina also takes custom cake orders and has a space for meetings.

Yohannes believes everyone deserves a tasty treat every once in a while, so her business offers a sliding scale, pay-what-you-can option for some of its products. Goodies priced at $5—10, for example, can go as low as $2.50 if that's all you can manage at the time.

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C'mon Barber, Vashon Island
"Get spiffy, stay classy" is the motto of Tara Morgan's mobile barbering business. When she was laid off during the pandemic, people started asking her to cut their hair. That's when the vision for how she could serve the Vashon Island community was born. She invested in an electric bike, loaded it with equipment, and began cycling across the island to cut hair on people's porches.

Morgan found that being a community barber was her calling and eventually invested in a delivery van and outfitted it as a mobile barbershop. She named the van Mickey, after her late father. Morgan still rides the bicycle to see her patrons in their natural habitat, but she also takes the van to community events, like the Strawberry Festival.

Her practice is also expanding into dog grooming, with more info about that to be announced.

Vashon Island is a short ferry ride from Seattle. If you plan on attending the Strawberry Festival or other events there, look for Mickey the delivery van and Morgan. She'll have you looking spiffy and classy quicker than she can pedal.

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Dazzle Cleaning, Georgetown
Logan Jay Taylor's self-proclaimed "Gayest cleaning company in America" was started in 2015; it was his way to turn his favorite hobby into his profession. Now having served over a thousand customers in Seattle, Taylor has built an enterprise that focuses on being environmentally and LGBTQIA+ friendly and prioritizing employee happiness, as well as community-minded. It offers residential, office, and moving-related cleaning.

The business has been eco-friendly since the beginning, but Taylor realized that buying "green" cleaning supplies was insufficient, as those products increase carbon emissions as a result of their supply chain. So Dazzle took matters into its own hands by making cleaners with water, mineral oil, baking soda, baking powder, and vinegar. Its bags are compostable, and it replaced paper products with cleaning cloths. It also strategically routed its supply chain to maximize efficiency.

"The best way to have really happy clients who love your company is to have super happy cleaners that love their job," says Taylor. Cleaners at Dazzle get industry-leading benefits, including a $26 starting hourly wage, insurance, IRA matching, paid time off, and flexible scheduling. One employee stated, "I've been working here for three years, and this is one of the best companies I've ever worked for."

Dazzle also created the Merry Fairies program, which regularly cleans the bathrooms of two organizations that serve those experiencing homelessness: St. Francis House and Facing Homelessness. It also cleans the homes of people who can't afford to hire a cleaner and physically can't clean due to disability or illness — free of charge. https://dazzlecompany.com/

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Dace's Rock 'N' More Music Academy, Maple Valley
The academy was established in 2005 by Dace Anderson, initially as a for-profit business called the School of Rock. However, Anderson later realized that becoming a nonprofit would better fit the mission statement, and the business became Dace's Rock 'N' More Music Academy. Its mission statement says it "is here to provide a positive, uplifting, and inclusive educational experience for all members of the community through private, class, and applied music instruction regardless of ability to pay."

The academy offers lessons to all ages (including adults) and skill levels in guitar, bass, drums, vocals, piano, and ukulele. Anderson believes that even though learning through online sources like YouTube videos is more accessible than ever, nothing can beat face-to-face lessons. The benefits to children especially are significant, including improvements in academic, physical, and social skills. Along with the private lessons and classes, the school offers "rockology" and continuing education classes for adults at Green River College.

Rockology groups students into bands, in which they select the songs they'll play and a band name. After six rehearsals, they'll put on a "sweet gig" for a live audience. They often perform in the Chalet Theater in Enumclaw for an audience of about 200—400 people.

The college courses are curated and taught by Anderson. She educates adults on various topics, like the history of rock' n' roll and the business of music. The courses also offer ongoing artist support, with opportunities for students to get gigs (including at Key Arena), radio play on several stations, studio recording time, and songwriting workshops.

The best part about the academy is its tuition assistance program. Anderson has given tens of thousands of dollars away in tuition assistance and scholarships. As the business states on its website, "We won't let your ability to pay get in the way."

Anderson cares deeply about spreading the joy of rock and roll to her community and giving artists the tools to learn and grow.

This Pride, there is so much to be proud of, and these businesses make us even more so. These LGBTQIA+ business owners are pursuing their dreams and uplifting others while they do it. Whether educating others about vehicle maintenance or music, putting extra effort into operating ethically, providing affordable and accessible services to underserved community members, or even cycling the length of an island to give safe, open-air haircuts during a pandemic, these operations truly epitomize the passion our community has to offer.