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Leah Gallegos
(Diana Ramirez/ De Los; Photos by Jenny Ruiz)

Mi Los Angeles: Leah Gallegos of People’s Yoga shares her 5 favorite Latino-owned businesses in L.A.

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Leah Gallegos, co-founder of People’s Yoga, will always be grateful for how her neighborhood was as a kid.

“If you’ve been to the recent Highland Park, that’s not the Highland Park I grew up,” she said, adding that her childhood was filled with memories of seeing the same street vendors and running into her neighbors at the park. Reflecting on her early experiences in the northeast neighborhood, she says she realizes it’s where she first felt the importance of community.

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“I took my first Chicano studies class at [East Los Angeles College]. We read ‘The House on Mango Street’ and I felt seen,” Gallegos, 39, said. “Later I joined a group that would become Las Cafeteras and we became very inspired by the Las Zapatistas movement about building autonomy and collective community-centered spaces.”

She took what she learned as a member of the band and focused her efforts on bridging the gap between her community and a practice that helped her: yoga.


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Located in East L.A., People’s Yoga serves a community that didn’t have access to the meditative practice previously. The studio, celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month, is paying homage to its beginnings as a pop-up. Throughout June and July, People’s Yoga is going on tour and holding classes at various studios around the city.

As a part of our “Mi Los Angeles” series, we asked Gallegos to share some of her favorite Latino-owned businesses.

“Many of us were inspired by the neighborhoods that raised us. Whether it be with food, plants, yoga, apparel. We can now give back to these neighborhoods and keep this momentum of innovation going,” said Gallegos.

Here are her picks.

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Jocelyn Ramirez poses for a portrait
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Todo Verde

Mexican Cuisine
I’ve been a fan of Todo Verde since their farmers market days. Founder Jocelyn [Ramirez]is a talented and creative chef working to recreate Latin American favorites with plant based alternatives, including hearts of palm ceviche, tacos con jackfruit and mole with mushrooms. Her cookbook, “La Vida Verde,” is a staple in our home - and those jackfruit tacos are a hit for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
Cindy Montenegro reads to children at "Lil' Libros" at the Los Angeles Times Latinidad Stage during the LA Times Festival of Books, at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on Saturday April 20, 2024.
(Kyra Saldana/For De Los)

Lil' Libros

Book Store
As a mom of two Chicanitos, Lil’ Libros books have filled our shelves with color and imagination. We started with picture books that highlight some of our favorite cultural icons like Selena and Frida Khalo, and have grown into favorite bedtime story books like “Super Torta.” Representation in literature plays a vital role in the development of curious and conscious kids, so we make sure to have books that will help shape caring and thoughtful humans. We are so grateful for Lil’ Libros!
Oeste, a homegoods and lifestyle store, is located on the 5800 block of E. Beverly Blvd, in East Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. The store has hand-poured aromatic candles, Latin American cuisine cookb ooks and a variety of other home items.
(Raul Roa/De Los)


Montebello Candle store
An Eastside gem. Oeste offers hand poured and perfectly scented candles, stylish home goods, and DIY workshops like learning to work with natural dye. Naomi [Castillo] founded Oeste to remedy her homesickness while living in New York, and we’re so happy she did. Her candles are made in small batches using sustainable and eco-friendly materials with scents ranging from “Jardin” to “Cielo.” She also makes natural roll on perfumes and a line of quality and stylish home goods that celebrate cultura and spotlight Latinx makers and creatives.
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Lime, strawberry and orange sherbet ice cream at Que Delicious
(Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times)

Que Delicious

This small hole in the wall has a little bit of everything and something for everyone, from tortas to ginger shots, green juices, licuados and Doritos. Fresh juices in East L.A. are not easy to find but Que Delicious just happens to be across the street from People’s Yoga. My favorite juice is “cholesterol” — the name is not too appealing but the juice combines piña, oranges and grapefruit. It’s so refreshing!
Kat Galindo hands a ice expresso to Nathan at Cafe Santo
(Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times)

Cafe Santo

Montebello Coffee
Cafe Santo is owned and operated by the powerful and super friendly pair, Pilar [Gonzalez] and Marlon [Castañeda]. We’ve worked with Cafe Santo for catering and events and their coffee always hits the spot with Oaxacan flavors and locally roasted coffee beans. They’re located in the heart of Downtown Montebello at BLVD MRKT - the perfect place to meet up with an old amiga, celebrate a special occasion or meet up for an important business meeting.
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