20 AAPI owned independent retailers to support this month — Part 1
May 8, 2023
May is AAPI month! We want to highlight 20 AAPI retail shops, share their beautiful stories and highlight their shops. Here're 20 AAPI owned independent retailers to support this month!
Sesame L.A. is a 250-square-foot superette located in Chinatown’s Central Plaza. It’s one of the first AAPI specialty retail shop introduced to me during pandemic.
With a childhood’s worth of memories, Linda has filled her market with an array of Asian condiments, pantry staples, and snacks. You can find Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce, baskets of candied kumquats, preserved plums, dried cuttlefish. But these familiar items are juxtaposed with emerging brands and artisanal products: NAM coffee, fancy Japanese smoked soy sauce, Omsom sauces, Rooted Fare black sesame crunchy butter…
Sesame L.A. opened as a pop-up space for a collaboration with Mei Lin. But as Linda explored the different scents and ingredients that went into the collaboration, Linda discovered a passion for showcasing and supporting AAPI emerging brands. Linda is often the first in the market to carry new products and provides space for other AAPI entrepreneurs, like Annie’s T cake from Bay area, to join for pop-ups.
Photo from Sesame LA Instagram
April 17th, Sesame L.A. welcomed their 2nd birthday. The wonderful team and supportive community contributes to its success. Looking forward, Linda will keep finding and highlighting exceptional goods and the founders behind them.
Picking up a beautiful product on Sesame L.A.’s shelf — you can’t imagine how hard these brands have worked, to bring their passion for culture and food to life; to share a simple moment of happiness with us.
Photo from Timeout LA
Yoboseyo Superette is a Korean-owned specialty market, offers a range of gourmet pantry, home goods and ready-made snacks with a particular focus on Asian American brands and local artisans.
It’s a go to place for us every time when we’re in Little Tokyo. The bright and welcoming interior, the fresh-roasted coffee, and the ever evolving, eye-catching selections of products are calling me to come back.
Photo from Kibonobori Instagram
Behind Yoboseyo, is the legend kind family Cindy and James. Starting with their first Cafe Dulce back in 2011, these 2 entrepreneurs have made so much impact in little Tokyo’s community. Many founders have told me, Yoboseyo is the AAPI version of Pop Up Grocer. They make their space into a platform for entrepreneurs to brew their business ideas, for brands to launch into market. It’s where dream collaborations happen, where ideas come in real life.
Agnes Cheesery and Market
Photo by mchen_5
We walked into Agnes to find a delicious jar of pistachio sauce, and that’s how we found this place — a foodie and cheese lover’s heaven.
Vanessa’s love for cheese started from 2015 at the cheese school of San Francisco. The concept of Agnes was a dream Vanessa and Thomas had — a cheese shop with a restaurant behind it. In just a few years, the dream comes true. Agnes strive to offer an eclectic selection of American cheese made by wonderful makers across the country. Every year, they attend the American cheese society conference to meet people, discuss trends and the economic and social impacts on the industry.
Besides the cheese, the marketplace is very fun to discover delicious snacks, sauces they use for cooking, and witty kitchenware. Vanessa invests time on every product they carry — to make sure its tasty, to research and find products that is unique and not easily found elsewhere. And you can feel the effort the moment you walk into the marketplace.
Working with Vanessa from Agnes is a huge pleasure! We were so lucky to have connected with them while we are developing and validating our ideas. Not every entrepreneur started their business with a perfect idea and a great action plan, but we always appreciate who supported and collaborated with us.
Photo from Windrose Provisions Instagram
Windrose Provisions in San Marino serves as a physical connection for small, maker-owned brands to connect with their customers in real life; not only on Instagrams or temporarily at pop-ups. The grocer, founded by Catherine Welch, focuses on building relationships with the best and smallest food makers in the region, the makers who are local, and cannot even afford to be on wholesale marketplaces.
Windrose Provisions guarantees a great taste and a complex flavor profile in all of its products. The Chinese Laundry Dan Dan sauce, the rich and delicious Sunny dipping sauce, Siesta tinned fish, and the very best Sunset Cultures Kombucha are just a few examples of the tasty offerings available.
Surprisingly, the smaller brands showcased at Windrose Provisions even outshone some of the more well-known and established brands. It’s a joy to discover these products and celebrate these young entrepreneurs’ success.
Meats and Essentials
If you follow Meats and Essentials on Instagram, you will be obssesed with their video series of the owner Eagle Yu, breaking down beef chuck and cutting ribeye…
Yu found his passion for butchery after leaving the tech industry. After years of studying and practicng, he opened his own deli shop in San Marino. Meats and Essentials is now offering high-quality cuts of beef, lamb, pork, and chicken sourced from local farms that prioritize regenerative practices and pasture-raised animals.
Alongside the meat counter, the shop offers an Aussie-style coffee menu crafted by Yu’s partner Mel Cain, as well as a selection of grab-and-go housemade sauces, refreshing beverages, and gourmet pantry items. Don’t miss out on their seasonal sandwiches and secret sauce.
At Cohere, we believe that the brick-and-mortar independent retail shops are community heroes. They’ve worked so hard to bring a beautiful idea to life, and brought our community with so much joy! Their stories inspire us, and encourage us to start our dream business one day.
Join the community