Holiday shopping in NELA spreads cheer and boosts the local economy

December Editions Front Page More News

By Emily Jo Wharry

The local holiday shopping season is underway in Northeast Los Angeles. Starting the weekend after Thanksgiving and lasting through Christmas, neighborhood stores, restaurants and service businesses are urging and enticing residents to “Shop Small” by offering an array of goods, gifts, wares, deals and discounts.

In our socially distanced times, even local shopping starts online. You can link here to shops that participated in the Shop Small Weekend launch event, Nov. 27 to 30, including Milkfarm, the artisanal cheese shop; The Green Bean children’s clothing boutique; Found Coffee; Back Benders chiropractic; The Auric Fields gift shop for crystals; LaBonté Hart Salon; Leanna Lin’s Wonderland gift shop; One Down Dog yoga studio; and Colorado Wine Company.

You can browse more destinations in Northeast Los Angeles for your local holiday shopping here, including Mayan Café and Bakery; Arnott Kenpo Karate; Bloom School of Music and Dance; Rock’n Egg Café; Mind Flow Hypnosis and Stefano’s Hair.

Most shops offer curbside pickup, complimentary gift wrapping or delivery straight to your recipient’s house. In accordance with the ever-updating COVID-19 safety precautions in Los Angeles, some stores also offer limited in-person shopping or outdoor pop-up events.

Shopping at local small businesses offers a more considered, thoughtful experience than the mall or big box stores, said Leanna Lin, owner of Leanna Lin’s Wonderland on Eagle Rock Boulevard. In these pandemic times, it may also be less stressful. “All of us super want to be careful, so we’re really not letting a lot of people into the store at the same time,” Lin said. “So, you’ll also feel safer.”

Lin is the founder of We Heart Eagle Rock, the organization that spearheads the neighborhood’s annual Shop Small Weekend. Since 2011, she has worked alongside local business owners Haley Solar (Haley Solar boutique), Jess Castañeda (The Green Bean) and Dr. Betty Tupta (Back Benders, The Auric Fields) to promote small businesses on Eagle Rock Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard.

The Eagle Rock Shop Small organizing team

  • Leanna Lin

    Owner of Leanna Lin’s Wonderland & Founder of We Heart Eagle Rock

    Photo by Robiee Ziegler

  • Haley Solar

    Owner + Designer of Haley Solar

    Photo by Haley Solar

  • Jess Castañeda

    Owner of The Green Bean

    Photo by The Green Bean

  • Dr. Betty Tupta

    Owner of Back Benders & The Auric Fields

    Photo by Dr. Betty Tupta

With the pandemic straining the finances of so many businesses, shopping small this holiday season is more important than ever. For a local business owner whose sales have taken hits throughout 2020, a customer’s holiday purchase — even if it’s as small as a $5 greeting card — can help contribute to the shop’s survival.

Lin points out that the survival of small businesses is key to the overall quality of life locally. “If you want to keep the quaintness or neighborhood feeling of Eagle Rock, that’s part of it: the little cafes, little retails shops.”

Shopping small also has a ripple effect in the local economy, because small business owners pride themselves on sourcing their inventory from suppliers, vendors, designers and artists in L.A. and Southern California.

Milk Farm lists a half dozen L.A. based suppliers, including nearby Little Flower Candy Company. Found Coffee supports and serves local roasters in L.A. and California on a regular basis, including Peri Coffee in Altadena. At the Haley Solar boutique, extra care is taken to source local, women-owned and handmade items and each item lists a brand bio so you can know who and how the item was made.

When you shop small at the holidays, you spread prosperity as well as good cheer. You preserve and enhance the neighborhood you call home. Into the bargain, you’ll find unique gifts and top-notch services for your loved ones, your colleagues, your home and office (and home office) and yourself. 

To view a full, regularly-updated list of local small businesses, visit and Shop Small NELA on


Please help the Boulevard Sentinel make it thru the Pandemic  
[give_form id=”10189″ show_title=”true” show_content=”none” display_style=”button”]