La Placita, the North Philly market that’s been a thriving center for Latino business
The space has brought much-needed exposure to Latino small businesses like Helados Chupi Chupi, creators of some of the city’s best popsicles.
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Located only blocks away from El Bloque Del Oro, still a cultural center for Latinos in North Philly, is a new area for Latino entrepreneurs to showcase their up-and-coming business ventures.
La Placita was created by real estate developer, David Groverman, to show importance to the Latino community, which often doesn’t have the space or the platform to highlight and sell their creations.
One business in particular is Helados Chupi Chupi, a Latino-owned venture known for its homemade paletas (ice pops).
Alexei Encarnación, the owner of Helados Chupi Chupi, has been creating these colorful and healthy popsicles since 2019.
But it wasn't originally his plan, in fact, his daughter, who was only nine years old at the time, started making popsicles as a fun hobby.
“She was only nine years old, so I had to step in and do a lot of the hard work,” Encarnación said in a recent interview with AL DíA News.
Since April 10 of this year, Encarnación and his family have been selling their paletas at the La Placita, and they’ve been a massive hit.
The vibrant colors and all-natural flavors are reminiscent of his upbringing in Carolina, Puerto Rico, which is something Encrnación wanted customers of all backgrounds to experience.
The venture only runs at La Placita on Sundays, but Encarnación also provides delivery services to those that can’t make it out.
“I deliver and my friends also come to the house and pick up some popsicles,” he said.
The hope for Encarnación is to have his own ice cream and coffee shop some time in July or August of this year.
Him and his wife prepare their popsicles with only the freshest ingredients from the grocery store, which they go to together.
Encarnación also says the key to his products are their consistency. If his customers purchase his popsicles on Saturday, they will taste exactly the same next time they buy them, he said.
That’s true whether you pick coconut, passionfruit, or mango
There is also a creation if customers live life on the edge. Encarnación recommends they try a certain popsicle that brings a bit of heat to your taste buds.
Their most daring flavor is the mango popsicle with chamoy and tajin on top to give it a perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
“Customers have been requesting them a lot,” said Encarnación.
In addition to the hard work, it’s thanks to places like La Placita that Encarnación and other Latino business owners are able to get exposure to grow.
Groverman, the space’s founder, explained that the reason he created La Placita was because of the lack of Latino businesses in that specific area around 2nd and Allegheny.
For some, the area might not look ideal outside of locals, but it is home to hundreds of people that pride themselves on turning the area into something beautiful.
“There weren't any grocery stores or banks, so I wanted to create something new,” Groverman said to AL DIA News.
While developing a strategic plan to help out community members in North Philadelphia, he is also hoping that by creating the space, other communities in Philly would be able to learn about Latinos and their culture.
So if you are in North Philly this weekend and find yourself near La Placita, check out some of the vendors that make Philadelphia diverse and special.