Meet Molly and Amalia Alvarado, owners of La Paloma Tacoma in Old Town, Tacoma.
Indigenous mother-daughter duo Molly and Amalia opened La Paloma Tacoma in July of 2022 as a gift shop and community haven. The shop showcases artisans of historically marginalized identities and seeks to be a welcoming and inclusive space for all.
Each visit to La Paloma is a new experience, with curated products ranging from hand-beaded jewelry, crystals, vintage clothing, indoor plants, home decor, and much more.
Learn more about La Paloma Tacoma in this week’s business spotlight Q&A!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in & why?
We love our community so much and are sure to pause and take it all in as often as possible. We take a lot of pride and care and provide a safe space for all. Our shop is small but mighty, and is known to hold inclusive events that are all ages and accessible.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
By supporting small, diverse businesses, you are investing in your community and ensuring that small shops survive even in the hardest of times. When you purchase something from us, you’re not just supporting our dream, you are supporting over 160 artisans.
By showing up to one of our Lazy Sundays (every Sunday) or our other events, you are supporting backyard flower farmers, local bakers, makers, and all kinds of people. Basically, you are a good person for shopping small and we appreciate you!
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
Our space was created as a feel good place welcoming everyone. Our main goal is to greet everyone and get to know people on a personal level and share the joy we feel in the space. We think that life is already hard enough, and it’s nice to depend on having a place you can go where you’re always going to get a friendly smile and sometimes even a warm hug. We love to photograph our customers and often times this really brings out smiles and some times even a belly laugh!
As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
When we first opened, we noticed that on Sundays there were no people on the streets, and we began to feel concerned about the future of our business. We looked around and realized that we were in the center of so many houses, and the only thing open on our street was our favorite coffee shop. We decided to do a call-out for Local bakers, and started offering fresh baked goods on Sundays as well as the coffee from our neighbor shop.
Our famous “Lazy Sundays” was born and every week folks show up to see what we are up to! During summer, we invite local vintage and artisan vendors to pop up outside of our shop and all kinds of bakers drop off fresh breads. People come from all over to get their baked goods fix and sometimes we even have backyard flower farmers drop off fresh flower bouquets! It’s a really good time, and it’s pet and family friendly.
What are some of your favorite local businesses and why?
We are tucked in a really sweet neighborhood with all kinds of self-care spaces you can go for therapy, a haircut, yoga, or even a facial. Lander coffee is across the street and is another community hub where lots of cool kids like to hang out. We are within walking distance to UPS (University of Puget Sound) and we enjoy the great conversations had over all kinds of worldly subjects! We are very fortunate to be here amongst so many fabulous people.
Anything else you’d like us to know about your business?
As far as we know, we are the only Indigenous owned business in the North end of Tacoma, and we take great pride in welcoming folks to claim this space as their own. Nothing makes us more happy than when someone brings a friend and we overhear them talking about the space with a sense of belonging. That is exactly what our goal is, to welcome all, and share a true sense of belonging here. We encourage other BIPOC businesses to move in the neighborhood and help us take up more space!