East L.A. corner market gets a heart-smart makeover

Shirley Ramirez and Omar Vargas East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy take down beer posters. Photos courtesy UCLA

Yash La Casa Market was one of the typical corner stores of East Los Angeles that caters primarily to a Latino clientele. It was stocked heavily with sweet and salty snacks and packaged foods that were crammed into a shop plastered with posters for Budwesier, Tecate and other beers. But, on Saturday, Yash La Casa Market at the corner of  Hammel Street and Hazard Avenue  will hold a celebration to show off a new look and strategy that plays up healthy food and drink options as part of a public health campaign to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The makeover, organized by the UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities and funded by the National Institutes of Health, included the removal of soft drink and beer ads from the front windows and the addition of a juice bar, refrigerators for fresh produce and an outdoor vegetable garden. Free Wi-Fi, too. Local high school students helped out by peeling away the beer posters and repainting the store exterior.  The program plans to eventually make changes at four East Los Angeles stores.

The ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 29, which features Supervisor Gloria Molina and officials from UCLA and the county health department, will begin at 10 a.m

Now, the big question is will the customers of Yash La Casa Market buy into the healthy makeover?


  1. Its difficult to stock fresh fruits and vegetables because the stores have to take into account the short window of freshness. I hope the owners are aware of how to purchase and market their more healthy wares.

  2. Sounds like this is a business owner with a real interest in the well-being of the community they serve. Thank you for taking a bold move! I hope your business thrives!

  3. Special thanks to all of the members of the Community Advisory Board that made this corner store conversion possible. This includes the Rotary Club of East Los Angeles, VELA, Latino Diabetes Association, Bienvenidos, Pan American Bank and the many more organizations and individuals that take part in the ongoing five-year project. Here are some photos from the event: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=259688970743775&set=a.259302947449044.64235.255766191136053&type=1&theater.

    Community members interested in participating in the Community Advisory Board may email Rosa Garcia at garciare@ucla.edu.

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