CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Queer-owned businesses are hosting events for LGBTQ+ people and allies to celebrate Pride Month.

"During my coming out years, visiting gay-owned businesses and seeing like flags was really important to me," said Jennifer Mowad, the owner of the chocolate shop Cocoa and Spice.

In Charlottesville, locally-owned LGBTQ+ businesses are celebrating by hosting events and socials, including Mowad's business.

"It was something that always made me feel safe and welcome. So I knew I wanted to provide that environment,” she said.

Mowad says these types of events serve as a reminder that the queer people of Charlottesville are safe, but more importantly, she says they belong and are loved.

"People will come in and ask me just to use the bathroom and then say, 'Oh we came in because of the flags that you were flying and everything,'” she said.

Mowad says she is also committed to spreading this message on social media so she can reach as many people as she can.

"We are making sure to do some educational posts on why we are doing what we are doing. Getting to use both Instagram and Facebook to encourage people to come to these events but also as a way to engage from home,” Mowad said.

She says her shop is coordinating with queer-owned stores in the area, like Baker No Bakery and Sealed in the Stars.