When Tyra Flynn, a Leesburg local, spent 15 years abroad while her husband worked in the Foreign Service, she found herself captivated by the stores and marketplaces that served as central points in the communities she visited: In India, Dubai, Jerusalem, and more, the markets were what caught her eye.
“I kind of fell in love with the souk-style marketplace, where it really is an experience to go shopping. You have a little bit of everything there. There are spices and food and teas and gifts; it’s like the one-stop-shopping experience,” Flynn says. “We got back to Loudoun County several years ago, and I really kind of missed that style of shopping, or that kind of experience. And so I tried to recreate it with some fair-trade vendors, as well as some local artists and makers.”
In 2018, Flynn did that by starting the Global Local — a name fitting for a store that balances the specific character and personality of Loudoun County (the local) while also stocking products sourced from around the world (the global).
Though the shop originally began as just a booth at wineries and festivals, the Global Local moved into a more permanent space when the pandemic hit — the Embark Center, which allowed Flynn to feature more than 20 artists in the store.
In May, the Global Local moved again, to a slightly larger space across the street, giving them even more room to expand.
You’ll find a little of everything in-store, from jewelry and purses to children’s books. Everything is either sold by local vendors or it’s sourced from artisans around the world with ethical, fair-trade practices that support their makers abroad.
A line of kantha bead jewelry is a perfect example; sourced from India, the beads on these colorful necklaces are made with recycled kantha quilts, and the artisans making them are guaranteed a living wage.
More locally, the store stocks merchandise from vendors in the area, like bath products from Round Hill Soap Co. and spreads from Herbert’s Wine Jelly, a local company that supports formerly incarcerated people in finding employment.
“I’ve been pretty deliberate about trying to source from either women-owned or other minority-owned small businesses in Loudoun County … [We’re] really just trying to find representations for a diverse community in our shop,” Flynn says.
It’s not just the items on the shelves that make this store a hub for the community: Flynn has made it her mission to give back to both national and local charities, particularly Loudoun Cares, a collaborative charity organization which supports many Loudoun-area causes.
“A lot of our shoppers really want to feel connected to what they’re buying and to who’s making their products,” Flynn says. “And so we try to give everything that’s in our shop a story to go with it — that helps connect the consumer to what they’re buying.” 105 Loudoun St. SW, Leesburg
What’s in Store
1. Made in Virginia Onesies, 100% Organic Cotton, $16 ea.
2. Wanderlust Soy Wax Candle, Local Maker, $26
3. True Honey Teas Gift Box, Local Maker, $5
4. Hand Beaded Club Bags, Fair Trade, $30
5. Sterling Silver BEE Bracelets with various sentiments, $10 ea.
This story originally ran in our July issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.