For vegans, buying groceries can feel like dodging animal-product landmines. At Animal Place's Vegan Republic, the Bay Area's first and only exclusively vegan grocery store, everything is plant-based. From Brooklyn-based Meow Meow Tweet's vegan beauty products to Oakland-made Hodo Soy, Vegan Republic sells a huge amount of vegan pantry staples, snacks, and lifestyle items, including T-shirts and pins. All that's missing is the fresh produce — but any good herbivore should be buying that at the farmer's market anyway. What they do have in abundance are vegan cheeses, such as The Cultured Kitchen's Smoked Cheddar Cashew Cheese, Vtopian's Peppercorn Brie, and Avellana Creamery's hazelnut-based cheese. Although the store opened a little more than a year ago as the privately owned Republic of V, founders Joe Haptas and Noelle Callahan recently sold the store to nonprofit sanctuary Animal Place. The new owners continue to stock great vegan products, but now profits go to care for two hundred rescued farm animals.
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