CHICAGO (CBS) — Humboldt House is not a house; actually, it’s a store, but for some, it is a home.
“It was just the first place where I felt I could be myself,” said Reign Drop Winker, a sales associate for the store.
Reign, who started working here a year ago, gets emotional thinking about it. They came out as trans and bisexual at around the same time.
“I’ve changed my name three times since I worked here. And every time my manager was like, ‘Yes you got it let’s change your email; let’s change your nametag.”
At Humboldt, a queered, feminist gift shop, much of their merch is locally sourced from queer vendors.
It’s had the same mission since 2013.
“Whether it is directly in the merchandise that we hold, like pronoun pins, we’re constantly evolving as a team and communicating with each other,” said store manager Bry Liggins. “What are we comfortable with? What makes sense when we interact with our community?”
Down the street, is the Humboldt House’s “sister store”– Little Peach Fuzz, which is a gender-neutral kids store for all babies and all families.
“Interact with queer families and make sure when they walk into the shop they felt just as welcome as any other family raising a child,” said Winker.
There is a rainbow painted on the floor, in “trans flag colors, which I love,” said Winker.
Just like the mission of the space, this rainbow is very much present throughout the entire store.
“Yeah, it’s like a big circle welcoming everyone into the community,” Winker said.
Winker is asked if they have ever encountered anyone coming into the store that’s closed-minded.
“Yeah, and it’s kind of a joy sometimes to challenge that idea, like, I’m not gonna lie about it,” said Winker
“People walk in and they’re like ‘I have a first-year-old birthday party for a boy and I’m like, ‘OK well our store is gender neutral so like are they a space kid or are they an arts and crafts kid are they a jungle kid?’ “
Humboldt House is located at 1045 N. California Ave. Little Peach Fuzz is a few doors down at 1005 N. California.