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5 Raleigh [Small] Businesses to Support

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I made the move from one big city to the next. Honestly, I haven’t done as much as I’ve wanted, but though I am moving to a completely different part of North Carolina, I still fully plan on conquering my NC Bucket List before I switch states again in five years (because with the way NC treats teachers, it’s bound to happen).

During my time in North Carolina’s capital, I have stumbled upon five different businesses that I want you to know about.

USU Company Candles

During my stint at the design studio, I had a memorable conversation with Stacy, the owner of USU Company Candles. It was so memorable that I did everything I could to take one of her candle making classes. Of course, things did not work out when I wanted them to; God had his own plan for timing. I briefly talk about my time taking the candle making class on the podcast, and I can’t wait to move and light it up; the candle I made smells like home.

USU Candles are incredibly addicting with each candle having strong, unique scents. USU Candles have their own spotlight at NCMA, not far from the PNC Arena. Stacy hand makes all of her candles with the most intoxicating oils and loving hands. You will not regret getting yourself an USU Candle.

I should probably check to see if there is actually a name for her business, but laziness is winning at the moment. For now, I would use the above handle to look Zion up on Instagram. She is the fantastic braider who SLAYS my hair every time. Literally on the day this is being published, Zion finished putting soft locs in my hair, and I let her choose the color combo. It’s very different for me, but I absolutely love it.

One thing I love about Zion, besides how easy she is to talk to for the entire time I sit in her chair, is her pricing. Compared to many other braiders in the area, her pricing is incredibly reasonable. There is a $20 deposit, and the deposit does go towards the total cost for your hair, which really helps out when I book in advance (this is where girl math comes in). Zion is responsible for the deep blue/black combo I had over the summer:

Blackbird Books and Coffee

This little bookstore is such a good vibe. The owners are incredibly kind, and they sell popular books in every genre. I believe the pricing is wholesale? (as in, the price on the back of the book by the bar code is the actual price; there’s no discount like Target). One thing I really love about this shop, besides the cozy area for people to do some work, is the section of banned books. Yes, they sell the banned books that every person needs to read.

Beyond books, they also sell socks, stickers, and different knick knacks like that. Plus, if you like free things, you can grab a free bookmark at check out. This bookstore opened this year, and I hope it stays around for as long as I’m in this state.

Koi Ramen

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this restaurant before, in a Top Travel Eats blog writing, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here. This was just such a memorable meal, and I don’t know if it’s because it was my first time having Ramen or if it was truly THAT good. Like, I am honestly tempted to run and get some right now. The pricing to food ratio makes it so worth it; for what you pay, you essentially get two servings. I took the rest of mine home in a to-go container and still managed to be full the next day; not many restaurant leftovers have that effect.

The Shiny Diner

I have truly enjoyed living close to this aesthetically pleasing place with staff who feel like home. The energy of the waitresses is like a hug as soon as you walk through the door, no matter who is working. I’m not sure if The Shiny Diner is a local business, considering another location is opening in Apex, but I’m going to say it is for the sake of this writing. The homemade food is authentic, especially the lemonade (which I know is technically a beverage); that lemonade has my entire heart.

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