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ASTORIA, Queens (PIX11) — A 24-year-old Latina woman from Queens opened up an indigenous Mexican clothing store during the pandemic to honor her grandmother. While highlighting her Hispanic culture, she is also helping uplift a community of women-owned businesses in Astoria.  

Anoria, Vanessa Gonzalez’ shop on 24th Avenue,  is named after and inspired by Gonzalez’  84-year-old grandmother, who taught her how to appreciate art and her Mexican heritage. The store features a collection of cultural and temporary pieces of indigenous Mexican clothing made by local artists,  many of whom who live in Astoria. 

Gonzalez was born in Mexico and moved to Queens as a child. She now uses her store to try to uplift artists and authors in Queens. Gonzalez features jewelry from Clayful Characters. She stocks books from local authors, such as “Carmelita Adventure” and “Immigrant Daughter.”

The store is one of dozens of small businesses taking part in an event called Shop Small Astoria. The campaign’s goal is reminding people in the neighborhood to come back and shop. The Queens Chamber of Commerce also has a program called the NYC Small Business Resource Network—helping connect businesses with free resources to help them stay open.

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