by Mark Van Streefkerk
It’s no secret that small businesses and retail shops have had a challenging year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Most local retailers have had to move their sales online, or host a hybrid of safe, socially-distant, in-person shopping along with new online sales platforms. Here at the South Seattle Emerald, we encourage you and your family to shop local this holiday season, especially seeking out local, BIPOC-owned businesses that might have been hit particularly hard in the pandemic. Here are a few businesses from the Delridge, White Center, and South Park neighborhoods to support this year. Check out the Seattle Green Book for more Black-owned businesses, and The Intentionalist for an index of woman-, LGBTQ+-, and BIPOC-owned businesses.
Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery: Nepantla is a Latinx-owned community space, gallery, and gift shop that Jake Prendez and his wife Judy Avitia-Gonzalez opened last year. The Nepantla gift shop has artist prints, T-shirts, accessories, and much more. “Our gift shop is always growing. We just added limited-edition hand-painted concha Christmas ornaments, zarape stockings, and zarape santa hants, concha pillows, as well as a bunch of new sweatshirts to keep you all warm,” Prendez and Avitia-Gonzalez wrote in an email.
Right now the gift shop is open Thursday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Masks are required, and only four people at a time are allowed in the gallery. Shoppers can also order from their online store. Prendez and Avitia-Gonzalez said they would like to have orders for canvas reproductions and T-shirts in by Dec. 12 and orders for poster prints and postcard/sticker packs by Dec. 15. If you choose to visit in-person, make sure to check out their Youth Art Exhibition through the end of the month.
are&be vintage: Based in the Delridge area, are&be is an online vintage shop curated by Erin Hill. Featuring dresses, outerwear, shoes, purses, and accessories, are&be boasts an impressive collection of exciting fashions. “One of my favorite parts about running this little shop of thrifted treasures is that I get to curate looks and experience from decades past and bring them into the modern age. I like the idea of bucking the notion that secondhand clothes can’t be fashion forward,” Hill said.
Hill has decided against doing pop-ups because of COVID-19; shoppers can browse her Etsy store instead. are&be ships anywhere in the world and can arrange contactless Delridge-area pickups for locals.
Have a fashionista on your gift list but not sure what to buy? are&be has gift cards!
“In the last couple of weeks, shopping has certainly picked up as people celebrating holidays are looking for a way to shop small, shop locally, and shop Black-owned businesses,” Hill noted. “It’s been really fun to see the unique pieces that are chosen as gifts for their loved ones!”
Recommendations: Hill recommends supporting Badder Body, a Black-woman-owned skincare business in the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall.
Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant: This beloved White Center staple was founded in 1996 by sisters Ana Castro and Aminta Elgin and features authentic Salvadorean baked goods, pupusas, sopas, tamales, and traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. They are currently accepting takeout orders only.
They have several holiday specials right now, including eggnog bread and fruit cake. Those looking for a holiday meal without the hassle of cooking can order a full turkey or chicken meal, pavo o pollo horneado, starting at $135.
“Whole turkey, whole chicken, we bake it in our own Salvadorean-style for the holidays,” Castro said. “We also have special cakes like our Eggnog Kahlúa cake—it’s filled with apricot and walnut. We have a rum cake and Christmas cupcakes. If anyone wants to give a gift, we have Christmas cookies specially wrapped in a holiday box.”
Orders can be made on their website or by calling them directly at (206) 762-4064.
Mac Fashion House: Seattle fashion designer Carlisia “Mac” Minnis owns and operates the studio and showroom in White Center. Her services include custom apparel, wedding dresses, and special occasion wear.
Right now Minnis’ online store retails Mac Masks, face masks with custom designs, including African and Asian prints, graphic designs, sports-themed patterns, and kids’ masks. Mac Masks run from $5 to $15 and make perfect stocking stuffers. Order today online here.
Antares Wellness: Lashanna Williams offers a variety of services at Antares Wellness, including massage therapy, community death care, art, and plant medicines. During Washington’s initial lockdown in March, Williams couldn’t offer bodywork and had to expand the Antares website and offerings. Now they offer candles, bath salts, art, cards, and personalized care packs.
“I’m an artist and a garden witch. I make a lot of plant medicines,” Williams said. “I make little care packs for folks. They can include a variety of things. I’ll have a quick call with someone, and they’ll tell me what they would like in it. They range from lotions, teas, body scrubs, bath salts, oils, herbal blends. I have a bunch of those in the mix right now that are headed out. They’re full of magic.”
One of Antares’ popular items is a sleep tincture made with chamomile, lavender, and mugwort called “Don’t Fu*k With My Rest.” Candles, botanicals, and other offerings can be purchased online here. Williams ships and can arrange pickups as well.
Now that Antares has reopened for very limited bodywork in accordance with official health guidelines, they also sell gift cards. Health protocol requires wearing a mask at all times and a screening before service.
Resistencia Coffee: The Latinx-owned Resistencia is South Park’s neighborhood coffee shop. Before the pandemic, owners Coté and Tim Soerens hosted community events and open mics. Support Resistencia by buying gift cards, apparel, and other merch at their online store here.
Duwamish Longhouse: Proceeds from the Longhouse Store support the Duwamish Cultural Center and provide funding for educational programs. This year’s Native Gift Fair and Art Market slated for the end of November was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Several following pop-up events were also cancelled. “We were going to do pop-ups every weekend, but with COVID, it’s come close to the community, so out of an abundance of caution we closed the Longhouse completely until January 4th,” explained program coordinator Caressa Nguyen.
Nguyen said that despite the cancellation of the Native art market, “People have been super supportive, doing their holiday shopping at the gift shop. We hope that we become a regular stop for holiday shopping in future years.” Though the Longhouse is closed, shoppers were able to purchase Native-made apparel, jewelry, art, gifts for kids, and more through their online store until recently when — due to overwhelming demand — they had to close the online shop for the remainder of the year.
However, Nguyen recommends following @virtualnativeartmarket on Instagram. The account was created to showcase Native artists and makers, especially since in-person markets have been cancelled. Browse Native-made goods from local artists and artisans in the Virtual Native Art Market now via their online holiday catalog, “?al?al for the Holidays.”
Mark Van Streefkerk is a South Seattle-based journalist living in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Featured image: Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery sells Latinx-made art, apparel, Christmas ornaments, and so much more. (Photo courtesy of Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery.)