I’ve just begun a story on the large number of Oaxacan business owners you find now in Los Angeles, particularly in Pico-Union, Hollywood and Koreatown.
I remember in the late 1990s coming to LA and not seeing any of this. But Oaxacans have lost a little of their fear of business. So now there are restaurants, markets, beauty salons, bakeries, a hardware store — all mentioning their Oaxaca connection and drawing on the vast Oaxacan population in those areas.
It’s an entire business community that started without anyone walking into a bank for a loan.
I met Ramiro, who owns a butcher shop and market on Pico.
He told me years ago he worked at Pizza Hut, where all the Mexican employees formed a tanda — an informal savings/loan network, in which each member contributes money each month, then receives a large payout a year or two later. When it came his time to get the payout, he bought a house in Inglewood not because he wanted a house but really because he wanted a garage he could control. In the garage, he started a meat truck business.
That was 10 years ago. Now he’s got three butcher shops/markets.