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By Tori Mason
/ CBS Colorado
A new marketplace coming to Aurora will celebrate Hispanic culture and businesses while bringing new life to East Colfax. In 1970, the now vacant 150,000-square-foot building at Chambers Road and East Colfax Avenue opened as a K-Mart.
Next year, La Plaza Marketplace will host dozens of vendors that highlight the Latino community.
What you’ll find there today is an empty building, a VASA Fitness and large group of food trucks, including Tacos y Pollos Za Za Za owned by Chuy Leyva.
Leyva plans to take his business inside La Plaza Marketplace when it opens.
“You’re going to have food and you’re going to have fun in there. And it’s close for the people in Aurora,” said Leyva. “I think it’s a good option for us to be in [La Plaza]. Because it’ll be busier in there!”
La Plaza’s developer, Doug McMurrain, says he wants to provide opportunities along the Colfax corridor while creating a needed space for the community.
“This will truly be authentic Hispanic culture. It’s a place where families can gather and it’s fun, it’s safe and it’s clean,” said McMurrain. “We serve a community that works hard, they love their families, they play hard, and they enjoy being together.”
La Plaza Marketplace will have 168 mercado stalls and 26 kitchens. The marketplace will feature a Dave and Busters-style family entertainment center, with arcade games and a playground. La Plaza will always have space for salon suites welcoming hairdressers, tattoo artists and several kinds of services.
“It’s basically a village. You can take the whole family and buy new shoes for the kids, grab some food, do your hair and nails. And it’s served by small businesses that are predominantly Hispanic,” said McMurrain.
It’s also low in barriers for business owners.
Vendors can lease an outdoor space at La Plaza for $150. An indoor spot will cost them $300. McMurrain says they won’t conduct credit checks and the lease agreement is 30 days.
“There’s no long-term commitment. You’d have to do a deposit. But if you’re not making it for some reason, or something comes up and you have to close your business, you just give us notice and you get your money back,” said McMurrain.
McMurrain opened a similar and successful model of the marketplace in Atlanta in 2000. He saw the social impact it had there and wanted to bring it to Aurora, where he currently lives.
“We get people who come and say, ‘I want to open a business.’ What do you want to do? ‘I don’t know. I just want to open a business.’ So instead of pushing them away, we say okay, here’s what we’re looking for,” explained McMurrain.
He wants La Plaza to help grow businesses. McMurrain says 54% of the businesses at La Plaza are first-time businesses or Hispanic, female-owned businesses.
“It’s been a partnership with the City of Aurora, with the Hispanic Business Chamber and we will continue to grow. I love what I do. I love serving this community,” said McMurrain.
McMurrain says their goal is to refine this model and eventually expand it to Chicago, San Jose and New York.
La Plaza Marketplace will open at 5200 East Colfax Avenue in early Spring 2023.
Tori Mason is a reporter at CBS News Colorado. Read her latest reports or check out her bio and send her an email.
First published on October 11, 2022 / 10:19 PM
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