What do you do if you live up the street from a defunct tattoo parlor in Highland Park, love the arts and crafts and gardening—and know a lot of people who love those things, too?
That was roughly the question Larry Santoyo and his wife Barbara Hass asked themselves recently before settling on an answer: Earthflow.
A tiny store on 7101 N. Figueroa St. that replaced a tattoo parlor in mid-November, Earthflow is a “bit of everything,” explains Santoyo, adding: “It’s really a story of who we are—and friends we want to collaborate with.”
Earthflow sells everything from art, jewelry and special gifts to chicken coops, doghouses and beehives, not to mention a variety of gourmet foods. Every item is handmade and sourced from about 30 local vendors—each one known to Santoyo and Hass.
In addition, Santoyo, who is a permaculture designer and teacher, specializes in installing organic gardens as well as sustainable landscape construction.
Taking advantage of a new law in L.A. that allows home-cooked food to be sold in stores, the couple sell such gourmet food items as backyard-harvested honey and home-made ketchup and mustard vinegar.
“We were sold out on the first day of our opening,” says Santoyo. “We’ve been lucky that the community has been very supportive.”
Echoing what appears to be the experience of a typical shopper at the store, a customer from Culver City disclosed on Yelp earlier this month that she intended to buy one thing from Earthflow but left with five.
“This is particularly amazing, given that the store is small and doesn't overwhelm with underwhelming items,” the reviewer said. “Everything has a place, a purpose, and a story. I found a tee shirt for my husband, a reclaimed wood wall cubby for my daughter's room, and some beautiful soaps and a cookbook for myself. All handmade, all local. I will be back.”
During this holiday season, Santoyo and Hass are planning to host workshops on cooking jellies, jams, vinegars and garnishes for cocktails.
They’ve successfully seated as many as 60 people in their cozy store and the tastefully landscaped yard outside, all of which spans around 500 square feet, says Santoyo, adding that their upcoming workshops will likely be held in a space next door that is not rented.
This past Saturday, Earthflow was listed as the 60th participant on the NELA Art Second Saturday Gallery Night—and 26th on Patch’s list of select stores that actually deal in art.
That was exciting news for Santoyo and Hass, not least because Earthflow’s participation has put Figueroa’s northernmost stretch in Highland Park on the NELA Art walk map.
“People used to go past Colorado and then swing by this section of Figueroa, which had nothing, and then wait to get to York,” says Santoyo. “We’re the first store here on the art walk—but I have a feeling we won’t be the only one.”