The Echo Park Time Travel Mart is something else. Think about it. You’re walking down Sunset Blvd. and all of a sudden there’s a window display with a caveman and a robot chatting it up? Sunset has its fair share of quirky and “kids look away” things, but this one caught our attention for its simplicity yet complex theme with an air of “Come in! We’re nice I swear!” – yep, we felt all that at the same time.
“WHENEVER YOU ARE, WE’RE ALREADY THEN”
Yes they were already then. As soon as you walk in, you see the aisle signs where you can find all the essentials. You know, like emergency mummy kits, robot milk, barbarian repellent, the basics.
You can find so many cool things. Even though the shop itself isn’t that big, every aisle will make you want to check everything in detail. You might not feel compelled to buy some of these things, as entertaining as they are, but knowing the reason behind this unique mart might make you rethink your purchase decisions.
826 Chapters are THE s#$@!
The Time Travel Marts in L.A. (yes, there are two), are part of the 826L.A. chapter. 826 is a non-profit writing and tutoring organization that creates workshops, tutoring groups, field trips and other learning and interactive programs for students ages six to 18.
So far, the organization has a total of eight chapters across the U.S. Their programs promote creative learning, writing and most importantly a safe and interactive space for younger students.
While visiting the Echo Park mart, there was a workshop going on in the back room. The students are in a complete separate space which, as a student, it makes you feel like you’re entering a secret, cool place that only you know of. Also, there’s a dark wormhole passage with neon messages. I mean, I was excited. Can you imagine the students? For us, shoppers, we assume we’re just in a really cool shop – when in reality the cool stuff is happening inside.
The mart has a section specially dedicated to “New Authors.” This is where the students get to see their work come alive. Their poems and short stories are published with the help of great designers making their project have a complete look. Can you imagine being that young and already seeing your work in a shop? Needless to say, I bought three books: Ell Camp; The Most Trabajosas in This World: Our Yearly Heroes; and When I Said I Didn’t Like You, I Lied.
When we are approached by non-profits to donate to their programs, we feel compelled to do so once, maybe twice and that tends to be it. Not because we stop caring about the cause, but because life gets in the way. We either forget or we need our money to go elsewhere. 826 chapters has an excellent approach. They offer a space where people can directly contribute to the organization. All proceeds from the Time Travel Mart go to the 826 programs. Here’s how we see it:
Students benefit: A space to learn and interact with other creatives like themselves
Adults benefit: Free tutoring and writing classes for their kids (…and time-off for the parents).
Students benefit: Get to write / publish their work!
Adults benefit: Buy unique stories. Support new authors 😉
Students benefit: Get to be surrounded by cool things and maybe get a free robot milk every now and then?
Adults benefit: Cool shop to buy unique gifts. Valentine’s is right around the corner guys…
It’s an understatement to say this shop and the 826 organization are doing great things. Check it out for yourself and let us know about your experience. Don’t forget to leave a message in the wormhole, from the past… and a donation obviously 😉
Growing up was there something like this in your neighborhood? #WormholeQuestions
This is one feature within our “Venturing Through LA” series. Check out the rest:
- DTLA: Chicas Tacos For Days…
- Tierra Mía Coffee: Is This the Latin Take On Starbucks?
- DTLA: A Place Where Pupusas Shine Bright Just For You
- L.A. Plant Based Scene: Brewery, Lunch, Ice Cream a la non-dairy. Cheers!
- East L.A., Sara’s Market: Bringing Local Goodness to the Neighborhood
- Voted World’s Best Cuban Sandwich, Silverlake’s Cuban Gem : El Cochinito