The Top Multihyphenate Businesses to Visit in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri is full of businesses thriving as a one-stop shop. From cafes that double as cat lounges to day spas with a top of the line brewery, here are the top places to visit.
by Rick Lewis May 21, 2024 — 6 min read
The Top Multihyphenate Businesses to Visit in St. Louis

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The Essential List of Multihyphenate Businesses

The Essential List of Multihyphenate Businesses

A salon that doubles as a cafe. A restaurant with a successful merch line. Multihyphenate businesses need multiple hyphens to describe all the value they bring to customers’ lives. This series celebrates these wildly creative businesses.

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Keeping customers happy starts with offering what they want. And consumers are saying they want businesses that offer more than just the usual fare. According to the Square Future of Commerce report, 80% of customers are eager to try something new from businesses they already know for something else. 

Savvy businesses are responding by evolving into multihyphenate brands. This means they’re diversifying their revenue streams by adding extras — like subscriptions, merchandise, event hosting and other noncore offerings — to their store, salon, or restaurant in addition to their main offering.

Cities like St. Louis are hubs for this kind of innovation, with local businesses operating interesting hybrid models, from cafes that double as cat lounges to sandwich shops that offer dropshipping services. This list rounds up some of the standout multihyphenates in St. Louis. If you’re on the hunt for some inspiration or simply looking for cool places to visit, these spots are leading the charge.

1/5

The London Tea Room

Location St. Louis, MO Offerings Restaurant, retail shop, events, online store Connect Website , Instagram Products used

The London Tea Room is one of the few tea rooms in St. Louis, offering a unique British tea experience, a retail shop that sells loose leaf teas and tea accessories, and a space for private events. Located just two blocks away from the city’s new football stadium, the restaurant part of the tea room offers a charming two-tier prix fixe menu that caters to both adults and children. Peter James, owner of London Tea Room, explains that most of the teas served are blended in-house, allowing the business to offer truly unique options like its popular Naughty Vicar tea, which is a blend of black tea with blackcurrants and vanilla, or its own take on classics such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast. James also sells his unique tea blends online, through his store, The London Tea Merchant. "The retail shop started when customers wanted to take home the tea that they tried, so we began selling loose leaf tea," he explained.

By integrating dining, retail, and event hosting, the London Tea Room has secured its status as a cultural and social landmark in St. Louis. "People are grateful to have a slice of the UK in a city like St. Louis," James shared. “We love providing a place for an elevated tea experience that transports you from the Midwest to England, adding to the international flavor of St. Louis."

2/5

MAUHAUS Cat Cafe and Lounge

Location Maplewood, MO Offerings Cafe, merch, cat adoption center Connect Website , Instagram Products used

 

MAUHAUS Cat Cafe and Lounge is a distinctive cafe and lounge where guests can enjoy coffee in the company of adoptable cats — the first of its kind in St. Louis when it opened seven years ago. The cafe's uniqueness extends to its bakery-based menu, which changes daily, ensuring guests are always in for a surprise. 

The business has facilitated over 700 cat adoptions in partnership with a local shelter, making it a vital part of the community's animal welfare efforts. “All the cats at MAUHAUS are looking for a forever home and are adoptable through Stray Haven Feline Rescue,” explains Dana Huth, co-owner of MAUHAUS Cat Cafe and Lounge.

Funded through a Kickstarter campaign, community is at the heart of MAUHAUS, with a strong emphasis on building relationships through a shared love of cats. “There’s a level of trust and comfort in knowing that you are walking into a place where you all have something in common,” Huth said. This community connection has spurred a new offering, an annual cat-themed art fair, which draws local artists and hundreds of visitors, showcasing everything from paintings to ceramics, all celebrating cats. “It’s one of our biggest days of the year, and it’s something that our community looks forward to all year long,” explained Huth. "We realized that our community’s love of cats was so big that we needed to offer them even more."

3/5

Rockwell Beer Co.

Location St. Louis, MO Offerings Taproom, brewery, beer garden, events Connect Website , Instagram Products used

Rockwell Beer Co. is a 15-barrel brewery, taproom, and beer garden that also offers event hosting and doubles as one of the community's favorite hangout spots. With two locations in St. Louis, this innovative brewery is respected for its edgy approach to an age-old craft. Its award-winning Baltic porter, Kazimierz, received a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2021 — the only Missouri beer to earn this distinction that year. On any day at Rockwell, customers can choose from a diverse selection of more than a dozen beers on tap or find their year-round favorites available in stores.

The brewery aims to be more than just a place to drink; “We're striving to create a modern beer hall and beer garden that provides bright, open, and inviting spaces for our guests,” explained Dan Heaghney, director of operations at Rockwell Beer Co. “The beers that we brew are created and served as social companions, meant to enhance — not distract from — shared conviviality among family, friends, and strangers alike,” Heaghney emphasized. This philosophy extends to their physical spaces, designed to be fun, comfortable, and safe destinations where guests can relax and enjoy both food and drink, whether alone or in company.

"We're a brewery first and foremost, but we also recognize that beer, and alcohol, for that matter, isn't for everyone," shared Heaghney. Recognizing that consumer preferences vary widely, Rockwell Beer Co. offers a variety of beverages beyond beer, including spirits, cider, wine, innovative cocktails, and non-alcoholic options. “We want to cater to every guest in the group,” Heaghney explained. With family-friendly touches like kids’ menus and games, Rockwell ensures that their spaces are inclusive and fun for visitors of all ages.

4/5

The Candle Fusion Studio

Location St. Louis, MO Offerings DIY spa products, retail, events, wholesale Connect Website , Instagram Products used

The Candle Fusion Studio is a family-owned DIY custom candle and fragrance shop established in 2016. This unique studio offers an immersive experience where customers can make their own personalized candles, fragrances, and products from a library of over 100 scents available at its candle bar. Customers can also shop a range of premade products at its retail store, including home and body products like wax tarts, fragrance sprays, and spa salts. "As we developed relationships with our customers, we found that they also [wanted to create] their signature scent into other home and body products," explained owner Keith Lester. "So we made them available." Beyond DIY creations and retail offerings, the studio also runs a thriving private label and wholesale arm that creates customized products for businesses, retail stores, and special events.

With two locations — one in the Historic District of St. Charles and another in the City Foundry STL complex in Midtown St. Louis — the studio is proud of its local roots and committed to community engagement. “The team believes in giving back to the community that has welcomed Candle Fusion with open arms,” said Lester. “We actively participate in local events, support charitable causes, and collaborate with other businesses to promote unity and growth in both neighborhoods where our studios are located."

5/5

Gioia’s Deli

Location St. Louis, MO; Creve Coeur, MO; Maryland Heights, MO; Valley Park, MO Offerings Deli, catering, wholesale, nationwide dropshipping Connect Website , Instagram Products used

Gioia's Deli is a century-old sandwich shop run by husband-and-wife duo Amanda and Alex Donley that also offers catering, wholesale, and dropshipping services. Established in 1918, this family-owned business has stood the test of time and grown into a beloved local empire with four thriving locations across Missouri. Best known for its “famous homemade hot salami” sandwiches, Gioia's Deli offers a menu that's as rich in tradition as it is in flavor. In 2017, it earned the James Beard Foundation Award for America’s Classics, an award “given to locally owned restaurants that serve quality food, have timeless appeal, and reflect the character of their communities.”

On top of running their popular deli, the business offers catering cases, boxed lunches, and even cookie boxes, all of which can be ordered from their online store, and they ship nationwide. To manage their multihyphenate operations across multiple locations, Gioia's Deli uses Square. “Square allows us to invoice our customers, reach our customers directly, [and] offer mobile online ordering and delivery,” explains Alex Donley. "The most surprising thing is that customers don't seem to notice Square, which is incredible because that means there is complete ease of use.”

Customers love the multihyphenate business model, and the numbers back it up. Forty percent of restaurant owners say that over 21% of their revenue comes from services outside their main restaurant service. It’s a similar story in retail: 61% of retailers have seen up to 25% of their earnings come from outside their primary sales. Now’s a great time to think outside the box and explore new revenue streams that could really click with your customers. If you’re curious about how the multihyphenate approach could work for you, read the Future of Multihyphenate Businesses Report; it’s packed with insights that could inspire your next aha moment.  

Rick Lewis
Rick Lewis is the chef and co-owner of Grace Meat + Three, an award-winning St. Louis restaurant that serves "the best fried chicken in Missouri," according to the Food Network. Lewis' inventive take on farm-to-table comfort food has been recognized by Food and Wine Magazine as "a bold, joyful celebration of all things Southern.

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