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Irene Diaz
(Photo Illustration by Diana Ramirez; Photo by Carolyn Cardoza)

Irene Diaz’s 5 favorite Latino-owned businesses in L.A.

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In 2013, Mexican American singer-songwriter Irene Diaz debuted her first EP, “I Love You Madly,” a handful of soulful, sultry and moody tracks.

Since then, music has taken Diaz across the U.S., performing on stages at SXSW, NPR’s Tiny Desk and abroad in Mexico, Spain and Japan.

Born and raised in Highland Park, Diaz says she gets inspiration from her surroundings, and crafts songs about love with Los Angeles as her backdrop.

“I have the hustle of the city, night drives to the beach, and the open air of the mountains,” she said. “I get lost in thought writing with so much energy surrounding me. Sometimes it feels like living in a dream.”


Her first full-length album, “Lovers & Friends,” was released in 2022 and executive-produced by Latin Grammy winner Carla Morrison. Her biggest hit, “Crazy Love,” has over 3.5 million listens on Spotify.

We asked Diaz to share her five favorite Latino-owned businesses in Los Angeles. Here are her picks.

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Mi Los Angeles

In ‘Mi Los Angeles’ we ask influential L.A. Latinos to share their favorite Latino-owned businesses. Find ideas and inspiration on where to go and what to eat all while supporting local businesses and organizations.

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CRSELA youth campers practice rock songs
(Blanca Carla Arriaga)

Chicxs Rockerxs South East Los Angeles

Chicxs Rockerxs South East Los Angeles (CRSELA) was the first rock camp I performed at. Since then, I’ve volunteered the last two years as a vocal instructor and band coach. Being part of CRSELA has been so rewarding. I get to witness and take part in the empowerment of trans and gender-expansive youth from communities of color through music. The growth and expression from the campers is a testament to the importance of this space.
Dianna Martinez works at her plant booth at the Historic Downtown Farmers Market
(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

LA Garden

Plant Shop
If you’re looking for a beautiful succulent arrangement with a personal touch, LA Garden founder Dianna Martinez is the person to go to. I love visiting her and her dad at the Historic Core Downtown L.A. farmers market on Sunday mornings. Dianna is full of plant knowledge and is kind enough to share tips. Next to the succulents you will find your next house plant, planters and LA Garden apparel.
Two women smile while holding a baby and toddler at their home office.
(Raul Roa / De Los)

Gaventura Capital and Heirs of the World

Financial Planning
Sky Gaven and Nancy Ventura are a wife-and-wife team powering Gaventura Capital and Heirs of the World in Boyle Heights. They are dedicated to ending generational poverty by helping people maximize their economic governance through financial education. I am currently enrolled in their close friends membership, where I learn about stocks, streams of income, grant opportunities and the ABCs of wealth.
Sara and Steven Valdes, owners of Sara's Market, greet a customer
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Sara’s Market

East Los Angeles Mini Market
Family owned for more than 60 years, Sara’s Market has it all in this cozy little store in City Terrace. The store specializes in regional goods and locally roasted coffee, and it hosts weekly pop-ups. I usually pick up some El Machete hot sauce (Verde Rebelde is my favorite) or Kernel of Truth Organics — they are the best corn tortillas.
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A crowd watches a performance inside The Paramount
(The Paramount)

Paramount Ballroom

Boyle Heights Live Music Venue (Under 3,000 People)
I had my “Lovers & Friends” album release party at the Paramount two years ago. It was a dream to perform at a venue that has been standing for close to 100 years and has welcomed so many different artists and genres. Owner Frank Acevedo did right by the community to invest in the ballroom. It’s not only a space for local indie acts and touring bands, but it also houses the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory, a nonprofit that introduces pathways to careers and workforce development in film, art and digital media for youth.
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