Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month & Latina Owned Business in Denver
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I dedicate this month’s Brain Food to some of the individuals and institutions in our great city who contribute daily to advancing their unique culture. We celebrate their work, their lives and the sacrifice of those who came before them to be part of this diverse country that we all call home.
Show of Support: Latina Owned Collective
Making its debut in September of 2023, the Latina Owned Collective was founded by Denver-based Victoria Garcia who launched the collective in the summer of 2020. She was looking for Latina sisterhood and wanted to find a way to support local entrepreneurs to network and grow their businesses. Now you can join in the fun.
Time to Sparkle: Sarah O. Jewelry
Jewelry is in the family for Sarah O. Her mother owned a boutique jewelry store in New Mexico, which fueled her passion for creating fine jewelry without the pretense. Today her eponymous boutiques in LoHi and downtown Denver provide an inclusive space for everyone to dream up something special.
Let’s Get Metaphysical: Alchemy Ritual Goods
Root yourself in the sacred at this special spot in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood where integrative wellness rituals and spiritual tools abound. From books and journals to tarot decks, handmade jewelry, bulk herbs, and candles to intuitive readings, classes and ceremonial gatherings, Alchemy Ritual Goods is a mainstay on the metaphysical market.
Dig Into History: Museo De Las Americas
Driving down Santa Fe Blvd. you can’t miss the unmistakable purple facade of one of the city’s hidden gems, Museo De Las Americas. One of the premiere Latin American Art Museums in the region, the museum showcases a variety of art–from ancient to folk to contemporary. In addition to exhibitions, the museum hosts programs, lectures and workshops honoring the multi-faceted cultures of Latin America.
Find a Network: Latinas First Foundation
Founded in 2011 by Co-Founders Juanita Chacon and Meshach Rhoades, Latinas First Foundation was established to offer a vibrant network and support for Latinas to achieve their highest potential. The organization facilitates scholarships, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities, while recognizing and commemorating Latina Trailblazers and Unsung Heroines. By spotlighting the cultural and historical contributions of Latinas in Colorado, the Foundation celebrates this community and provides opportunities and valuable resources for succeeding generations.
Survive a Chocolate Attack: Cultura Chocolate
Cultura Chocolate is one of our state’s premier bean-to-bar chocolate companies. Founded by pastry chef Damaris Ronkanen, Cultura was inspired by her childhood memories of Mexico visiting her grandparents. Today Cultura operates a factory and cafe at the new RISE Westwood campus where you can sample chocolate and watch the it being made.
Dream the Dream: Maria Empanada
When Lorena Cantarovici came to the US she had just $300 and a vision to make the American dream happen. She started making empanadas in her garage, and in 2014 with a loan from the Colorado Enterprise Fund, was able to scale and grow her business from an obscure location on Sheridan Boulevard to a prime retail space on Broadway. The rest, as they say, is culinary history. Today Maria Empanada is a Denver institution.
Comal Heritage Food Incubator
Launched in 2016, Comal Kitchen is a restaurant and training facility for aspiring immigrant and refugee women entrepreneurs to learn skills and find work in the world of hospitality and restaurants. Their 36-month earn-while-you-learn model is effective at helping their graduates become financially independent. To date they have served over 40 participants and successfully launched 6 businesses. Their restaurant is open Tues-Fri from 8am-2pm. Menus change regularly and feature made-from-scratch cuisine from the homelands of the immigrants and refugees who are part of the program.
Additional Resources for Latina-driven Organizations
- Adelante Community supports entrepreneurs Adelante Community
- COLOR Latina support Latinas reproductive rights Colorlatina
- Beautiful jewelry made by local artist Ana Marina Ana Marina
- Ready to cook Mexican food by local entrepreneurs Erica and Liz, Dos Amigas takes the hassle of preparing meals from scratch Dos Amigas
- Liz Lara also owns Beauty on Location, a boutique shop to get brides and Denver women ready for special occasions. Beauty on Location Studio
- On the cultural side, Colectiva brings together creative Latino minds to elevate the Latino culture, art and cuisine Colectiva