Maria’s Market has been around for more than 30 years. It is located in front of Obregon Park on Michigan Avenue. I always pass by it on my way to adult school. I see students go in to buy refreshments and snacks as I walk by. Most of their customers are from the high schools, Esteban Torres and Hilda Solis. You notice how worn down the front of the store is. The paint is fading and all the posters on the wall have been tagged with graffiti or ripped off. Many people enjoy buying from this market because of the guy at the register, Chuy, who welcomes all his customers as if they were family. This makes his customers feel comfortable buying his merchandise.
Many people consider Maria’s Market to be an East Los Angeles landmark because of the culture and history the market has. This market faces incidents that lure customers away, but most of its customers are loyal to this market and keep going. For example, a criminal was running from the cops and entered the Market to hide, as well as other situations that were gang related. Most of the people would stop going to a store because they don’t feel safe around the area. The type of people who shop at Maria’s Markets are Hispanics. When you go into the market, you will see Chuy sitting behind the cash register. On your right, you see racks full of cookies, candies, chips, and fridges full of refreshments. What I like about Maria’s Market is that they have a rack full of Mexican candies, Mexican food, and many other cultural merchandise at the right side of the store. That is one reason many people like going to this market because you won’t see many liquor stores outside of East L.A. selling Mexican merchandise.
This market symbolizes the people in East L.A. Because everyone in the area is so comfortable with each other, you will see them walk into a store with a lively spirit, always trying to start a friendly conversation. They talk to you politely, making you feel comfortable, like you’ve talked to them before. This store brings out the culture of our community because “Chuy” usually plays Mexican Music, making the customers feel comfortable. It’s a symbol of the community because most of the markets in East Los Angeles are similar to Maria’s Market. The community treats everybody like family, and Chuy treats his customers with respect and makes them feel like family. He brings out our Mexican culture by providing food, music, and humility in the store.