Over on York Boulevard, The Pop-Hop Books & Print bursts with books, zines and local art. The previous nine-year owner moved away from LA in 2020, and now there are four other people who run the business.
One of the current co-owners, Rosario Calatayud-Serna, said the four new co-owners have been running the space for the last three years as a collective, each bringing their own skills and interests to the table. They came together with the shared goal of creating a community space that could highlight marginalized voices from communities of color, Calatayud-Serna said.
“It was a little bit of fate, a little bit of magic and understanding the potential of what a community space could be,” Calatayud-Serna said. “And at that time, it was even more needed because we were all scattered, not knowing what was going to be the aftermath of the pandemic.”
Serna said that she and the other co-owners — Jonathan Hinton, Kenzo Martinez and Adriana Yugovich — were able to reopen the store during the COVID-19 pandemic by reducing the operating hours to Thursday through Sunday, with the help of COVID-19 Relief Grants from the city.
“We’re really trying to curate a very beautiful and intentional selection of books,” Calatayud-Serna said. “[A selection] that challenges and that sparks conversation and that really bring about emotion to our community.”
According to Calatayud-Serna, they build relationships with independent publishers and people who are just getting started compiling work. One of the local publishers Pop-Hop works with is a hybrid literary, art and academic journal called Forecast Journal. According to their retail specialist Emily Colvin, she first became attracted to their shared collective values and the store’s emphasis on people gathering together.
“The shop is really adorable,” Colvin said. “There’s a lot of young, wonderful energy in there.”
According to Forecast Journal’s founder and creative director, Farida Amar, the collective prints only 100 tangible copies of each bi-annual work, sold at Skylight Books, Arcana and Pop-Hop. She said that the Pop-Hop owners have gone beyond their retailer role in their collaboration with Forecast Journal.
“They are interested in doing community events and the fact that we were invited to engage in that way, from someone that would typically only be a retailer, was very cool. I think it’s what opened the dialogue to be more personal and collaborative, more intimate and community-based,” Amar said. “We can actually be friends with these people. We can make stuff with them. We can hang out with them; we can share ideas with them. It felt more like art family than business.”
As part of its mission to serve the community, the Pop-Hop also offers at least two to three events per month. One of the recent partnerships was with Echo Park’s Good Folk LA. Good Folk LA is a series of folk music concerts featuring local folk musicians in all stages of their careers in alternative spaces, founder Abby Litman said.
“I feel like a bookstore is such a great setting for a folk music show since a lot of us folk songwriters tend to focus a lot on lyrics and storytelling,” Litman said. “The audience was great and was really present for each performer.”
Litman said the values she built Good Folk LA on align with the Pop-Hop, based on their prioritization of the community, and she hopes to host in the space again soon.
“The owners and employees really show their love and passion for books in the way they curate their selection, display their merchandise and build relationships with their community,” Litman said. “It is a really warm and welcoming place.”
Contact Mollie Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org