As we cross the halfway mark of this year’s Pride Month, it’s time to consider more lasting ways to support the local LGBTQ+ community than waving rainbow flags or taking advantage of mainstream sales. One way to show your allyship is by patronizing some of the numerous businesses founded by LGBTQ+ community members in the health and wellness space.
From spending the day at The Ranch Houston doing yoga exercises and shopping for fresh food at the Creole Garden to getting a new haircut at The Hot Towel TX, you can buttress your own self-care at these six LGBTQ+-owned businesses, among others across the city. Go ahead and use Pride Month as an impetus to give these hot spots a try now, then keep them on your radar all year round.
Founded by couple Tamika & Lenie Caston-Miller, The Ranch Houston is a wellness organization dedicated to adult health by combining nature with nurture through art from The Mill HTX, exercise from Ashle Yoga and Wellness, and gardening from The Creole Garden. “We wanted to create a space where LGBTQ and BIPOC folks can reconnect to our heritage through being connected to the land and one another,” says Tamika about starting The Ranch. “Everything we do here is about community and doing things in the community while creating relationships.”
Exercise studio YogaStrong, located in Deer Park, aims to help Houstonians practice mindfulness through education, nutrition, and therapy. Founded by Krysten Mabry, the studio aims to make yoga more accessible in the hopes of better helping people address mental health, chronic pain, or weight loss issues by offering an ample amount of classes or private training in StrongBarre, Meditation, Flow, or Beginners Yoga.
After cutting hair for over 20 years, owner Tinisha “Nish” Cox insisted on opening her own barbershop in 2017, which became The Hot Towel TX, located in Uptown. While the barbershop industry can be male-dominated, Cox explains how she aims to open the door for women to explore while feeling safe no matter whether they’re cutting hair or in the chair. “It’s been my passion for years,” says Cox. “I wanted to open a space where it was women-led and open to everyone.”
Integrated Medical & Wellness Group
Chiropractitioner Dr. Monique Lyons Lee is the founder of Integrated Medical Wellness Group. Since opening the business in 2019, Lee has treated patients from children to adults with chiropractic issues concerning neck pain, back pain, and sports and collision injuries, as well as diseases such as scoliosis sciatica and fibromyalgia.
Khaliah Guillory introduced The Nap Bar in 2019 for sleepy shoppers to have the ultimate rest stop, where guests can sleep in a private room for up to four hours. After being sleep-deprived while working for a Fortune 500 company and napping wherever she could, she decided to open The Nap Bar to allow anyone to take a nap whenever they’re in need. “I built the Nap Bar business plan based on what the masses wanted and made a beta version in River Oaks, and opened a space in The Galleria,” Guillory says. “However, COVID hit, so we pivoted to pop-ups like a Stress-Free Finals Event at UofH. We did one in Austin for SXSW, and we’re just going to keep going.”
Counselor and behavioral intervention strategist Dr. Keith Clarke has been helping Houstonians and families reach healthy living practices for 24 years. Through couples therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and psychotherapy, Clarke, an openly gay counselor, provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ community members to pursue the help they may need.