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A Latina Third Grade Teacher Has Started an Open Air Market to Create Space for Her Lennox Community in the Midst of SoFi’s Gentrification Effects

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]ngel City Market in Lennox is coming up. 

What started as an outdoor market in the parking lot of a mariscos restaurant in the Lennox neighborhood near Inglewood once a month has grown in size and popularity. You may have scrolled through their sensational TikTok account that often features their famous mimosa tower, but the real draw is the BIPOC-led small businesses hustling food and chill weekend vibes.

Themed days include culturally significant themes, like Bad Bunny, Loteria, Dodger Fest, and more. The outdoor market experience is kid and pet-friendly and offers free entry to Lennox and Inglewood locals. 

As the market continues to expand, so does the list of small business vendors that change with each event. Visitors can shop at various business stands ranging from regional Mexican and Central American dishes, non-alcoholic drinks, desserts, homemade candy, accessories, and locally designed custom apparel. The food selection throughout the market includes options from the mariscos restaurant, tacos, hot dogs, mini-pancakes, and the parking lot often shares the space with local food trucks. Other unique food options include an artisanal chamoy vendor and homemade dog treats. The outdoor bars are especially popular for their items such as mimosa towers, ‘fishbowls,’ micheladas, and other drinks that are equally suitable for both quenching your thirst and posting on the ‘gram. 

@angelcitymarketlaIt’s the weekend! 🍾❤️‍🔥 ##popup ##angelcitymarket ##angelcitymarketla ##mimosa ##hotgirlsummer🧚🏽‍♂️ ##fypシ @tapiasfuegomix♬ Thot Shit - Megan Thee Stallion

Kenia Haro, creator and event organizer of Angel City Market, is a third-grade teacher and business owner that grew up in the Lennox area herself. Haro began hosting her own pop-up events on a much smaller scale in front of her home as the pandemic pushed her and many other small business owners to find new and creative outlets for supporting their families. After recognizing a need for more outdoor events like this on a larger scale for her neighborhood, she has worked hard to create meaningful experiences for local vendors and the surrounding community. 

When asked why it was important for her to host Angel City Market in the Lennox area, Haro expressed her desire to bring something to the community that is positive and fun. She also expressed her concerns over the area’s current state as it continues to be affected by gentrification.

“Down the street with the Hollywood casino and so much gentrification going on, I wanted someone from the community to bring something back here that was for the people here.”

Kenia Haro standing.
Kenia Haro. Photo by Angela Burgos for L.A. TACO.

The fight against the displacement of the existing black and brown community in Lennox and other parts of Inglewood has been especially highlighted in recent months as the effects of the SoFi stadium have started to impact the community. The pandemic was an important catalyst that drove Kenia to take action against the underrepresentation and lack of support for her community through supporting people and their businesses. The market has become an extension of that fight. Kenia hopes that the traffic created by the event will also translate into support for the nearby market and shops.

“I really want my community to thrive. There is so much potential here. We just have to bring it to light.”

Haro’s goals are to make the outdoor market as accessible to everyone as possible, from the vendors to the locals attending each weekend. She is also working hard to ensure that the event accurately reflects the neighborhood’s cultural diversity. When asked about the community's response to the outdoor market, Haro’s stated that people were a little shocked and skeptical about what was going on at first. However, this has seemed to change with time.

“I think when they realize that it's someone from the community, they open up to the idea more. As time has gone on, I think they realize that the event is something positive. When you're from a community that has been taken advantage of a lot, you’re always on the defensive mode, so we’ve had to do a lot of explaining and talking to the community.”

Angel City is definitely a place where one can eat, drink, and have a good time without having to worry about things like long wait times. This outdoor market is making a name for itself throughout Los Angeles as a community-focused event that places BIPOC small business owners at the center. Haro and her team are carefully curating an experience that not only represents her community but is also made for them. 

Here are some of the event’s regular vendors. 

 

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Locke Down BBQ

Alex Mayagoitia started his business out of his backyard selling “L.A.-style BBQ.” He later expanded to a food truck to bring delicious BBQ options to locations across the County. Their menu offers a mouth-watering selection of BBQ like pulled pork fries, brisket sandwiches, hot dogs, keto options, and so much more. A must-try item is their BBW sandwich, a mac and cheese-stuffed grilled cheese with your choice of meat. Alex discovered Angel City Market through their popular promotions on Instagram and soon after became a vendor himself. Alex highlighted his enjoyment in bringing his business into spaces like Angel City Market that promote community-building. “I saw how the community comes together here. I like to go to places where the community helps each other.”

 

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Angel Juicery

Angel Mendoza is the owner of Angel’s Juicery. Angel’s small business specializes in selling all-natural cold-pressed juices. He recently started signing up for pop-up events such as Angel City Market and others to help spread health awareness to different communities. Being a vendor at Angel City Market allows him and his business to interact with customers that wouldn’t usually have access to cold-presseed green juices. His fruit, herb, and vegetable combinations include names like “Tu Sandia,” “Green Goddess,” and “Carrot Zinger.”

ChamyJam

ChamyJam is another small business vendor at Angel City Market. Melanie Mora and her husband Victor Rojas started their business in May 2020 during the pandemic in search of the perfect chamoy rim dip for their at-home micheladas. Their product became an instant hit because of its ideal combination of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. Soon after, they expanded their business and their product line to include assorted spicy chamoy candies and chips. One way that they get to meet their goal of providing the highest quality Chamoy rim dip that takes your drinks and snacks to the next level is by attending pop-up events like Angel City Market. “Everything is organized for vendors and customers. We look up to Kenia and Danny. They always give us feedback.”

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