My name is Charlie (he/they) - founder of Everywhere Is Queer. I grew up on stolen Ho-Chunk land (Milwaukee,WI) and currently call the stolen land from the Northern Paiute, the Wasco, and Warm Springs communities (Bend,OR) home.
I am grateful to share that I have slept at least one night in 45 of the 50 states here in the United States and my biggest take away is, Everywhere Is Queer! Throughout all my travels, I kept finding myself googling "queer spots to hangout in _______". Maybe you relate to that.
I struggled to come up with anything at that time, and this is when the seed was planted. A few years later I thought of Everywhere Is Queer, which is a world-wide map of queer owned businesses. After launching in January of 2022, to date we have 1,200+ queer owned businesses on our map, which is growing everyday!
So far, I have connected with SO many amazing queer business owners, and I am here to share my top 10!
1. Fort Collins Donut Co - Fort Collins,Colorado
Having friends who worked at Foco Doco in college, I got to know this place really well when I was attending CSU a few years ago. Megan, the owner of Foco Doco is one the kindest humans. They have vegan/gluten free options. You must stop here if you are driving through Northern Colorado!
2. Somewhere That's Green Indoor Plant Shoppe - Bend, Oregon
Talk about an unexpected experience. Walking into Somewhere That’s Green the first time, I was in awe. It is a sight to see! I am grateful to call Bend my chosen home for right now and am even more grateful to call John, the owner of Somewhere Thats Green a friend of mine. When John isn’t running the shop, Fertiliza comes to life, who is a very well known drag queen in town! Even if you don’t live in Bend and are passing through, STG carries so many amazing locally made products (yes there are boobs and butts on plant pots in there)!
3. OutBox and Red Hook StrengthWorks - Brooklyn, New York
OutBox offers boxing, muay thai, strength training, queer yoga, personal training, and so much more. OutBox is trans owned and I can tell it offers a space that not a lot of gyms offer. I personally have not been to OutBox, yet. However, next time when I am in Brooklyn, I will definitely be taking a class from them!
Next door is Red Hook StrengthWorks. The owner is a doctor, immigrant, and a queer woman. When I first launched EIQ earlier this year, the team at Red Hook StrengthWorks were some of the most supportive people and added their business right away. To be exact they were the 177th business added to our map and joined in January of 2022 the same month we launched. The love they have given us over social media I know is reflected right back into the space they have created. I can’t wait to meet in person and visit this spot!
4. Curbside Queens - Portland, Maine
A few of my friends hit the road on the East Coast interviewing and connecting with a few of the EIQ businesses. After seeing all of their content, I couldn’t not share here that there is a bus that travels around the Portland, Maine area full of drag queens, called Curbside Queens! Are you traveling to Portland, Maine for a bachelor or bachelorette party? Hire them!!
5. Sammich - Portland, Oregon (also Ashland & Lebanon, OR)
Maybe you recognize Sammich if you are a fan of Guy Fieri! The owner Mel, who has become a good friend of mine, was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy’s Grocery Games! Mel and I connected the moment we met because we are both from the Midwest originally. Sammich was the 180th business added to the EIQ map and has become one of my favorite spots because I only live 3 hours away. If I am ever in Portland,OR, you’ll find me eating at Sammich not once, not twice but probably three times because Mel’s sandwiches are that damn good!
6. Solar Punk Farms - Guerneville, California
To say I am inspired is an understatement. While I was on a company retreat for my full time job, my co-worker mentioned they lived on a farm with a bunch of queer folks. Right then and there I planned a trip to go visit! Nick and Spencer, the owners of Solar Punk Farms are some of the smartest and most talented people I know. As someone that studied environmental studies in college, to see the regenerative agriculture practices that I was taught in undergrad in practice, was so inspiring. Beyond their property, the community they have cultivated in Northern California is beautiful. They are in their first few years but have big plans for a community learning space. If you are in the area and want to pitch them a few dollars for a tour, I am sure they would be open to it! Also if your timing is right, they may give you some tomatoes because wow do they grow a lot of tomatoes!
Follow Charlie and the ever-growing list of queer-owned businesses on Instagram, @everywhereisqueer, and at everywhereisqueer.com. See you on the road!