Explore our (non-exhaustive) roundup of Alexandria, VA’s Black-owned restaurants, retail, beauty and wellness businesses for all your gifting needs (or for treating yourself). Below, local business owners share how they’ll help you find the perfect gift, decompress when you feel stressed, savor a festive meal and more. Keep reading to get inspired.
Fashion and Retail
Helmed by former Obama administration attorney Nicole McGrew, Threadleaf is an independent boutique and proud to be the only store in the area to offer several slow fashion brands from Japan, Europe and the United States under one roof. The airy boutique provides an inviting space for considered shopping, but you can also visit Threadleaf’s online shop to view an inspired collection that does not compromise on style or craftsmanship. Threadleaf offers delivery, curbside pickup and phone orders, as well as in-store shopping with contactless checkout. E-gift cards are available online.
Harambee Books & Artworks
Prince Street’s Harambee Books & Artworks, owned by Bernard Reaves, is Northern Virginia’s only Black-owned bookstore. Named after the Swahili word for “working together,” Harambee’s mission is to promote literacy education as a fundamental human right for all. Come and browse a unique selection of books and hard-to-find classic literature by and about people of African descent, plus exclusive artworks and fashionable apparels. Additionally, explore Harambee’s educational resources, reading programs and community-based events.
Food & Drink
Tucked inside Cameron Station, Cameron Café is a local coffee shop and café that brings together residents of the West End and beyond to celebrate life’s moments while they caffeinate. Start a day of holiday shopping or festivities with a hot drink paired with a buttery croissant. As the weather permits, take your fuel for a brisk morning jaunt around Ben Brenman Park. Gift cards are available in the store or online, or through giveandgetlocal.com
Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats
Sweeten the holiday season with Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, a 1950s-inspired soda fountain serving legendary Wisconsin-style frozen custard and nostalgic treats from owner Brandon Byrd’s vintage van. Swing by for custard-topped apple crisp, decadent doughnut sandwiches more.
Haute Dogs & Fries
Let Haute Dogs & Fries provide a creative take on your favorite comfort foods for special occasion dining or spicing up cold winter nights. Customer favorites include the Bombshell (topped with mango-pineapple relish, sautéed onions and fresh jalapeños) or the Banh Mi Dog, inspired by the Vietnamese sandwich. Look for Haute Dogs’ signature cheeky T-shirts, as well as gift cards for purchase, online.
Magnolia’s On King
Magnolia’s On King is a haven for high quality Southern cuisine, specializing in one-of-a-kind vegan and vegetarian meals under the leadership of Leonard Holton, a local Old Town sommelier and restaurateur (pictured above at left).
Envy Us Beauty Supply
Prep for holiday gatherings with your family or virtual meetups by stocking up on beauty supplies at Envy Us Beauty Supply, owner Aesha Ray’s S. Van Dorn St. shop specializing in hair care, skin care, cosmetics, hair extensions and accessories with a large selection of Black-owned beauty brands. Shop (or buy a gift card) online and enjoy curbside and delivery options.
Good Brows is a luxury brow boutique dedicated to precision brow shaping and permanent makeup. Let owner Simone Fennell (pictured above) demonstrate the game-changing power of well-shaped brows. Good Brows is taking all safety and sanitation precautions to ensure the safety of staff and clients. Shop brow products or schedule your appointment online now.
Hazel O. Salon
Named in homage to the owners’ grandmother, Hazel O. Salon is the quintessential urban beauty oasis servicing all hair types. Enjoy the salon’s sleek, sophisticated interior for an end-of-year hair refresh from staff experienced in styling a vast range of hair types and textures. Distancing and masks are required.
Elle Hair Studio
Treat yourself to hair care ranging from to ombré or balayage to loc maintenance from a five-star stylist. Make an appointment at Elle Hair Studio, a private boutique hair salon located right outside of Old Town. Appointments are booked out with a fifteen-minute margin to allow time for proper sanitation. Clients must be allowed into the building by the stylist to further limit exposure. Gift cards are available online.
Historical Tours and Black History Merch
Manumission Tour Company
Founded by Alexandria City Councilman John T. Chapman, Manumission Tour Company provides guided walking tours that explore the experiences of African Americans in early Alexandria, from the Underground Railroad to the successes of free Black individuals in antebellum Alexandria. Masks are required, social distancing is practiced and flexible scheduling/refunds are available.
Gyms & Wellness
PIES Yoga Fitness Studio
PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, a safe haven of community in Alexandria’s West End, thrives in offering compassionate, inclusive and personable service to welcome and support all beings on their wellness journey. PIES’ (currently virtual) sessions are designed to reduce stress and anxiety, cultivate optimal sleep, explore the intersectionality of social justice and wellness and heal gender, workplace and race-based trauma. Ease your way into yoga and the new year with “My Body Don’t Bend That Way,” PIES’ flagship class featuring customized yoga poses, an open and laughter-filled environment and an abundance of support. Visit PIES’ website to sign up for a class or purchase a product or e-gift card.
Sunflowers Healing and Wellness
Navigate the peaks and valleys of life with compassionate guidance and custom life tools from Sunflowers Healing and Wellness. Lindsey Vick, owner and founder (pictured above) invites you to work with her team of practitioners for proven tools to affect all areas of life, from relationships to careers to birth and more. Located in Del Ray, Sunflowers Healing and Wellness offers hypnotherapy, reiki, life coaching and an array of childbirth support services. Sunflowers offers highly effective virtual sessions, and doulas are always masked for in-person appointments.
Let Trident’s coaches encourage you as you seek an endorphins boost this holiday season and strive for new routines into the new year. Trident offers eight weekday classes to accommodate all sorts of schedules. The exercise and supportive community can help you better cope with stress and will put you on the road to a healthier and stronger life. Trident’s safety precautions include an air exchange system, large fans and state-of-the-art air purifiers, plus additional sanitizing and distancing measures.
The staff at Del Ray’s Foundation Fitness knows that one of the hardest things to do since the start of the pandemic is to stay active and exercise. The gym boasts a team of highly skilled and trained personal trainers who can safely keep you on track and moving forward.
Find more Black-owned businesses to support here.
Header Image Credits, left to right: Threadleaf; Instagram account of Hazel O. Salon; Haute Dogs & Fries