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Nine LGBTQIA+ friendly businesses worth supporting in Greater Cincinnati

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Posted at 6:23 AM, Jul 18, 2021

CINCINNATI — The end of Pride Month does not need to mean the end of celebrating and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community in Greater Cincinnati.

People like Justin DeJohn and Nigel Cottrell operate clubs E|19 and Below Zero Lounge, respectively, that offer safe havens and popular gathering spots for the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies.

“We like to say that we are gay-owned and gay-operated and straight-friendly,” said DeJohn, who opened the bar alongside owners Richard Cooke and Martin Wagner. “We primarily service the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, but truly everyone is welcome here.”

Cottrell said that, too, is the mission behind Below Zero, which first opened 15 years ago, and fellow LGBTQIA+ friendly bar Tillie's in Northside.

"We started out 15 years ago. One of our objectives was to identify ourselves as an open-minded bar operated by open-minded people where diversity is celebrated," Cottrell said. "And that has just exploded over the years. And now we have a really cool following across the whole of communities. Not only LGBTQ+, but everybody. And that's what we really wanted."

Of course, bars and lounges aren't the only LGBTQIA+ friendly or owned businesses worth supporting and celebrating in the Queen City.

There are places such as &Sundries, owned and operated by John Meyer in East Walnut Hills. Meyer started out making soap and other items in his home before growing it into the successful storefront it is today.

Meyer said being a gay business owner is not that much different than being a straight or cisgender person.

"It's no different to be a gay business owner versus any other type of business owner," he said. "I think what is really great about being a gay business owner and our business, in particular, is our motto was a 'Bubbly Good Time.' We absolutely love what we do. And we've just happened to turn it into a business."

Learn more about e|19, Below Zero Lounge, &Sundries and six other LGBTQIA+ owned or allied businesses below.

e|19, 1905 Elm Street, Over-the-Rhine

e|19 is a lounge bar and discotheque operated by Richard Cooke that offers great music and exceptional customer service to create a fun, welcoming experience where the LGBTQ+ community and its allies can socialize, dance and drink in a beautiful setting. For more information, visit

Below Zero, 1120 Walnut Street, Over-the-Rhine

Below Zero is one of the longest operating lounges and bars in Cincinnati to serve the LGBTQ+ community as a gathering spot. Below Zero, operated by Nigel Cottrell, regularly hosts cabarets and other events alongside regular evenings of dancing and music. For more information, visit Cottrell also operates LGBTQ+ friendly Tillie's at 4042 Hamilton Ave. in Northside. For more information about that location, visit

Creative House of Art and Design, 609 Main St., Covington

Creative House of Art and Design, known simply as CHAD for short, is owned and operated by Chad Turner and his spouse, Chuck Beatty. The couple opened CHAD in November 2020 as a place dedicated to providing competent, professional instruction in art, in a friendly, safe and pleasant environment. CHAD tailors its experience to match student needs. For more information, visit

&Sundries, 2807 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills

John Meyer, the owner of &Sundries, started making soap at home in 2017 before launching his storefront and online order business in 2019. Meyer now makes more than 200 products with simple ingredients and offers a holistic approach to its products and customer service, including a line of Pride Month products sold in the month of June. For more information, visit

Lil's Bagels, 308 Greenup St., Covington

Julia Keister got tired of looking for good bagels after moving from New York City. She started making her own and selling them at pop-up shops, before opening a brick-and-mortar in Roebling Point in 2018. The walk-up window and indoor space – coming soon – sling bagels and sandwiches every day. But Lil's has a focus on community and fundraising, focusing much of it on LGBTQ-related causes. For more information, visit

Crump and Gracey, Online
Add a little glitter to your life with Crump and Gracey, a custom home decor and accessories store that specializes in items such as drink tumblers, key chains and more. Amanda Huber currently operates her business online-only. For more information, visit Crump and Gracey on Facebook.

Not Your Average "Paint and Sip" Class, 1310 Pendleton St #400A, Pendleton

James Reynolds leads this one-of-a-kind experience of an elevated "paint and sip" class inside his studio located inside the Pendleton Art Center. Reynolds offers classes seven days a week by appointment. His studio is open 6-10 p.m. during each Final Friday event in the art studio. For more information, visit

Originalitees, 2809 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills

Khisha Asubuhi created Originalitees apparel line in order to allow people to rock their city, state, neighborhood, self-identity and more in a positive and creative way. Originalitees fashion design wants to bring people and communities together, according to Asubuhi. That includes shirt designs that celebrate Cincinnati's LBTQ+ community. For more information, visit

Smartcat Marketing Solutions, 7012 Harrison Ave. #4, Green Township

Owners Kelly Mullen and Erin Wainscott offer an inclusive, well-rounded approach to creatively promote businesses and brands in Greater Cincinnati. For more information about the company, visit