LOS ANGELES (January 3, 2014) – In a bustling city like Los Angeles, it’s easy to be drawn into the world of grand shopping centers filled with the same, familiar brand name stores. But what is it that gives a city its unique character and flavor? Local businesses. To counter generic malls, local businesses need a common place to sell their goods to consumers. That’s where Urban Epicuria comes in. Urban Epicuria is an organization whose mission is to select local, independent vendors and highlight their various products. They help and support local independent businesses, keep ‘buying local’ alive, and help to build a more resilient and robust local economy. Urban Epicuria is a weekly market that will launch in early February 2014.
“It’s an uncommonly good market for the common good,” explained founder, Elena Neff, “Our customers can enjoy shopping local, at a fun, exciting market and in so doing, they’re helping preserve the character of our community.”
Urban Epicuria is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting budding entrepreneurs, micropreneurs, and existing independent local businesses to become more successful, sustainable businesses, and remain viable in the sea of big store competition.
“It’s a different experience when you’re working with the people behind the brands, when you’re hearing the stories of what inspired them to do it and you’re purchasing things directly from very talented creators,” Elena said. What sets Urban Epicuria apart from other farmer’s markets is that they are an ongoing platform showcasing a collection of items that are all locally made. While there are other great events in and around LA, they occur only a couple times a year, and it’s very difficult for a number of these vendors to build a successful and sustainable business if they can’t be easily accessed by their customer base.
The inspiration behind Urban Epicuria started with the establishment of the Cottage Food Production Act, which allows vendors to produce directly in their home kitchen and legally sell in various ways to consumers. Most vendors have a Class A license which permits the holder to only be able to sell directly to consumers. In LA, this can usually only be achieved through special events, which require a complex and expensive process, or farmer’s markets, which have year-long wait lists. With these limitations in mind, Elena was inspired to remove these barriers and create a platform for these vendors to be able to market their unique products.
When Urban Epicuria partnered up with Process Green, they chose Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) as their non-profit organization. SELC was one of the large forces that got crowd source funding passed, which allowed businesses, whether they were a startup or an existing business, to be able to raise local capital without being subject to all the SCC rules. SELC was also the force behind the passage of the Cottage Production Act. Elena has been a huge supporter of SELC for years, and so the relationship with Process Green enabled her to further develop the connection between Urban Epicuria and SELC. In addition to supporting SELC through their partnership with Process Green, Urban Epicuria also gives 10% of their proceeds to other local charitable organizations. We would say that they’re making small change for big change, but Urban Epicuria is doing more than that. They are taking the initiative to jumpstart a new movement in preserving local businesses and stimulating the local economy that in turn benefits everyone. We’re inspired by their growing dedication and proactiveness. Urban Epicuria is all about helping the community, growing the community, and being the community.
“Urban Epicuria is more than a market, we love what we do and we work with the finest local vendors who love what they create. The result is an interactive experience that enriches our local community for residents and businesses alike.”
Written by: Julie Tofukuji