MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — A new pop-up shop in downtown Minneapolis is showcasing local, Latino-owned businesses.
Mercado Latino opened Monday for a two-week run on the skyway level of Gaviidae Common.
Chameleon Shoppes is partnering with Latino Economic Development Center for Mercardo Latino, its second annual event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
"It goes very well with the mission of Chameleon of supporting women and... BIPOC communities," said Andreina Aquique Lugo, project manager for Chameleon Shoppes.
Chameleon Shoppes is a Minneapolis Downtown Council initiative, transforming empty retail spaces into equity opportunities for BIPOC and women entrepreneurs. The initiative currently has four stores and the pop-up.
"It also goes along with the mission of Minneapolis to revitalize the whole area and make it more inclusive and we all need representation in our city," Aquique Lugo said.
According to Aquique Lugo, Mercado Latino includes 11 local, Latino-owned businesses.
E.M.A's Boutique — an online retailer — is one of the vendors at Mercado Latino. Valeria Hernandez was born and raised in Mexico and now lives in Richfield. She opened her boutique in 2015.
"I started because I'm a mom. As a mom, well especially me with three kids, it's always been hard to buy clothes for me. I always want to buy for my kids but not for me. I had an idea: 'What if I ordered a few tops wholesale and start selling them?" Hernandez said.
Her boutique includes dresses made by a Mexican designer.
"She lost her job during COVID so she started making her dresses. I just love supporting other women," Hernandez said.
Aline Perezgrovas is also at the pop-up shop. Her business, Liny's Herbal Boutique, launched three months ago.
Perezgrovas used to experience a lot of menstrual pain; to cope, she started creating her own herbal remedies.
"I was just trying to get a more natural approach to my overall health and to feel better because every month I was just feeling really bad," Perezgrovas said.
She first came up with a menstrual elixir — a blend of black cohosh and white peony root — to help with cramping and heavy flows.
"I noticed that it was really helping me and working for me. Then I thought, "Why not create something for other women that are suffering just like me with their periods?" Perezgrovas said.
Perezgrovas is excited to not only get the word out about her products but connect with other entrepreneurs, saying, "Definitely networking is one of the pluses that you can get from this event... It's a win-win either way."
Gaviidae Common, Skyway Level
651 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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