It’s taken a decade, but Charlie Marder is back where he started – Echo Park. Marder is one of the owners behind Mi Alma, a shop that showcases his customized lamp shades, chandeliers, vintage finds and other home and garden accessories. Ten years ago, Mi Alma Lighting operated out of an Echo Park storefront on Sunset Boulevard before moving to several locations across Los Angeles. After operating the last three years at Sunset Junction in Silver Lake, Marder had to look for another location after the landlord put him on a month-to-month lease. That’s how he ended up back in Echo Park at the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Avalon Street, where a developer has abandoned plans to build eight homes and leased the space for Mi Alma Lighting & Echo Garden.
What does Marder, who is working with partners Hector Diaz and Gloria Root, have planned for Mi Alma’s new home? A little bit of everything, including selling pots, sculptures and items for the garden as well as indoor lighting fixtures and other finds. There are also plans for a “wi-fi” garden where customers can lounge outdoors while sampling jams and toast, Marder said. “I’m trying everything,” said Marder. “I’m going to have fun with this spot.”
Marder plans to have Mi Alma Lighting open by early May.