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Silas Luster poses for a picture outside of the future site of The Bohemian Village, an upcoming family-run juice bar and store Luster is planning to open in early 2023. / Staff photo by Tierra Hayes

Pictures of people with dreadlocks, afros and braids, music by Nina Simone and paintings by various artists fill the social media feeds of The Bohemian Village, an upcoming family-run juice bar and store in East Chattanooga.

For owner Silas Luster, it will be an extension of himself.

"I'm an artist at heart, so it's an expression of that, putting that work into a space," he said after giving a tour of the unfinished space, pointing out where the juice bar will go and where he hopes people will one day sit and fill the space with laughter.

Luster acquired the location, 2511 N. Chamberlain Ave., in November. He said the shop will add a piece to the puzzle of the community surrounding Glass Street, which is home to other Black-owned businesses like Allgood's Used Books and Coffee.

"This neighborhood is at a point where it's ready for a business like this," he said, mentioning that his family lives nearby and will be instrumental in running the shop.

(READ MORE: Glass Street neighborhood celebrated with block party)

Luster is working with an architect on building plans and looking for contractors before starting to build a vendor list of local Black artists and creators to help fill the shop with goods.

He said he is moving from Massachusetts to Chattanooga, where his dad's family lives and where he spent summers as a child. Luster's mother is an artist, and he started making music in middle school before going on to major in film and spend three years in New York working on films and productions.

But he's always enjoyed the feel of Chattanooga and fell in love with the city as an adult, saying it has the best of both worlds.

For now, Luster posts on The Bohemian Village page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to get the word out about the business and look for interested vendors. He also has plans to launch an e-commerce version of the shop online first, before officially opening the brick-and-mortar location.

"Social media is a way of building the aesthetic and vision so that people know what to expect," he said.

And what they can expect, he said, will be a curated selection of home decor, wellness items and other goods. These may include items like tapestries, crafted gifts, furniture, candles, soaps and chocolate.

The juice bar and its wellness aspect will be important, Luster said, because it will provide more options to residents who live in the surrounding area.

"Sometimes it's hard to access healthy products if you're not in certain neighborhoods," he said. "[So I want to help] make health accessible."

While he's still in the early stages of planning the shop, Luster plans to open in March 2023 and said he wants to create an environment for people to work together and to support Black creators and businesses.

"I just realized that we as Black people, as people, as humans, we need to collaborate more," he said.

Contact Tierra Hayes at thayes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6693. Follow her on Twitter @TierraBHayes.

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