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Echo Park's El Batey Market closes after 48 years

by Michelle Lanz | Off-Ramp®

Evelia Diaz, owner of El Batey Market in Echo Park, smiles from behind the counter of her store, which has been open in the neighborhood for 48 years. Michelle Lanz/KPCC

After 48 years in business, the El Batey No. 2 market on the corner of Echo Park and Delta Avenues has closed its doors for good. 

It's not that 74-year-old Evelia Diaz wanted to retire from running the store — her daughter Nelly now owns and operates it. Instead the family-owned business was ordered to leave in April by a 30-day eviction notice after ownership of the building changed hands.

Evelia's son, Ramon Pack III, was able to negotiate a 30-day delay of eviction in the hopes of negotiating a lease. But, according to Ramon, the negotiations never happened and the family was notified that they must vacate the store in early June. They finished clearing out the market June 5.

While the neighborhood and businesses surrounding El Batey have changed, Evelia and her Echo Park spot have largely stayed the same. Evelia is well-liked by community members and was known to regularly cook for her customers. She even allowed the regulars to keep a tab if they didn't have enough money to pay.

Prior to their departure, community members banded together to buy as much of the store's inventory as possible.

KPCC's Michelle Lanz visited the store last weekend and spoke with the 74-year-old matriarch of the El Batey about saying goodbye to the family business. 

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