At The Good Trade we believe that every dollar we spend is a vote for something. That idea has driven our search for social entrepreneurs and sustainable businesses, but it has also fueled our passion for local commerce.
We moved to Echo Park just over a year ago. Our move was not inspired by the endless supply of delicious street tacos, or even Echo Park Lake. We moved here because we felt local pride in the undercurrent. When we walked into shops and bakeries we could feel that people were pushing creative boundaries and building towards some kind of unspoken vision for a community built on local identity. So for local natives or Echo Park newbies, this is our list of local businesses that are inspiring the future of our community.
#1. Tavin Boutique
Think of Tavin Boutique is a poem from the imagination of Erin Tavin. She started the shop in 2009 with the vision of creating a place where shoppers could immerse themselves in less considered eras and styles. Her collection of vintage, bohemian clothing has a mixed flavor of travels abroad, times long forgotten and modern day chic. This highly curated shop embodies the burgeoning style and imagination of Echo Park and we can’t get enough.
#2. Neighborhood Salon
Neighborhood Salon makes this list just as much for their vision for the Echo Park community as for their stylings. Ava Shire is a third generation Echo Park native and opened the salon with the vision of creating a central gathering place with a vibrant style. The salon has got more than its fair share of aesthetic personality and it’s helping to give the neighborhood a sense of home.
Cookbook is very possibly the most honest grocery concept in the country. Robert Stelzner and Marta Teegan opened the shop after years spent sourcing and cooking high quality ingredients. Their entire staff has a background in cooking and they pride themselves on sourcing grocery items that are fairly traded and are ethically grown. The shop will awaken the master chef in you and offers a bright vision for the future of sustainable food practice in LA.
WoodCat is a personal favorite for working sessions and meetups. The specialty coffee bar serves the range of typical coffee shop drinks but what sets Woodcat apart is the community that it has quickly developed. On any given day the shop is full of regulars and you get the sense that once someone visits, they don’t stop coming. Woodcat brews sustainably sourced blends from Wrecking Ball coffee in San Fransisco.
#5. Shout & About
Shout & About may be the happiest little place in Echo Park. The adorable gift shop has a wonderfully curated selection of fun, quirky, and beautifully designed stationery and gifts. Owner and Echo Park local, Tamara Houghten was inspired to bring this shop to life and it's the perfect fit on Echo Park Ave. Pop in the store and you'll find social enterprise brands like 31 Bits, Made in America brands like Rifle Paper Co. and local artists like Our Heiday.
Myrtle is a one stop shop for amazing clothing, apothecary, home and gifts created by independent female designers from around the world. The independently owned boutique curates items that inspire longevity, heritage and beauty. The boutique is bright, feminine and and fashion forward.
#7. El Prado
El Prado makes this list for being Echo Park’s neighborhood bar. This community puts a premium on old school authenticity and El Prado delivers. Their mix of locally sourced beers and red, white and sparkling wines are matched by small bites, think hummus and pita. Rumor has it that you can even score a free tamale when you order a beer on Thursday nights. The ambiance kicks it back with an impressive library of retro vinyl and a first rate old school record player.
#8. Origami Vinyl
Origami was founded in 2009 on a dream that Neil Schield had since high school. Like so many Echo Park shops, the store is a curation of Neil’s personality and taste. The shop makes this list for its collaborative approach to community building. From monthly Record Club Nights at El Prado to community events help at the EchoPlex, Origami is a fixture of the growing Echo Park local culture.
If you aren’t a foodie you will be after trying Dinette on the corner of Echo Park and Sunset. Dinette makes this list for mixing pure excellence with a bold disregard for the expected. The tiny sidewalk location is tucked between the 99 cent store and the El Classico Tattoo Shop but it’s blend of comfort food, pastries and espresso have left it anything but hidden. Avocado toast and house made sodas are among our favorites but we are especially impressed by the model that Dinette is setting for brave new concepts in our community.
#10. Gentleman’s Breakfast Eyewear
You will not find a bigger personality in Echo Park than Van de la Plante. Everything about his eyewear shop is one of a kind. On a recent visit, he explained to us that his collection of only vintage eyewear is inspired by a quality that isn’t considered in modern makes. He showed us custom frames, tints and shapes and even offered us some scotch. His shop makes this list for its careful curation and constant consideration for quality.
#11. Cactus Store
Cactus Store is housed in a tiny 350-squre-foot shop on the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Scott. The shop is manned by Johnny Morera who is quickly becoming something of a cactus celebrity. His artful collections include plants from just $25 all the way to $800. Johnny is following his passion with Hot Cactus and as a result, he’s giving Echo Park a green thumb.
#12. Sunset Beer Company
Sunset Beer Company has an aim to carry the widest selection of bottled beers in LA. The shop offers bottles to go or invites visitors to stay a while and hang out in the comfortable lounge area where they’ve got leather lounge chairs and board games. Sunset Beer Company doesn’t sell food but that means they allow costumers to bring in their own picnic style eats. The shop is unrivaled in its selection and offers an innovative take on some long time favorite pastimes.
*Article Header Photo Credit: New York Times
Beatrice Valenzuela (Online Only)
Beatrice Valenzuela was born in Los Angeles and inspired by global travels before making Echo Park her home. Beatrice’s designs are sourced through direct relationships with artisans in Mexico where she grew up. Her line of shoes jewelry and bags has a strong theme of craftsmanship and her focus isn’t just on initial design but how well products age. Beatrice is an all around Echo Park inspiration and is setting the model for long lasting artisan goods throughout our neighborhood. Find her online or at the Echo Park Craft Fair.