A Monday art walk… to the pulpería

I wrote on Thursday about the beauty and, during the past few months, the renewed utility and importance of Costa Rica’s pulperías. While writing that post, I came across this lovely connection of paintings of “corner stores” past and present, and wanted to share some more of them with you. I found them on the TicoClub website, which indicates they were part of a 2009 exhibit at the National Museum called “Homage to the Costa Rican Pulpería” by students of the Home Art School of Professor Ricardo Jiménez Salazár.

It was dedicated to “the pulperos, who forged a tradition that allows us to buy our bread, share our affection and strengthen our identity.” Amen. For more on new ways to buy from Costa Rican pulperías, here’s Thursday’s post. Now, here’s a taste of what the students created, complete with classic signage, countertops, pulperos and, in a couple cases, horses. (The featured image above is by Hugo Jiménez, depicting Comisariato el Porvenir, San Miguel de Sarapiquí.)

Ana Elena Solís, Pulpería Hermanos Fonseca, Quebrada Honda, Guanacaste
Rubén Mora, Pulpería La Nueva Fortuna, San José
Gabriela Espinoza, Pulpería La Puerta del Sol, San Pedro Montes de Oca
Daniel Castillo, Comisariato Manuel León Salazar, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Daniel Cordero, Pulpería La Luisa, Potrero Cerrado, Cartago

I’ll be up late tonight to prepare tomorrow’s Boost, because the first same-sex marriage in Costa Rica following the legalization of marriage equality here will take place at 12:01 am tomorrow morning! Want to join me in watching it? You can tune in here.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or FacebookIf you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section, updated regularly – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.

 

Shop local, Costa Rica: but also, shop close

My post today on shopping local in Costa Rica comes from a surprising source: the beverage giants Coca-Cola and Florida Ice & Farm.

A few initiatives I’ve noticed lately have reminded me that there are two parts of being a responsible consumer right now. One is shopping for products that are locally produced on a small scale. The other is shopping at small, local outlets, because even when the things you’re buying are from big companies, you’re supporting a family during an economic crisis. In other words, there’s #comprelocal, and there’s #comprecerca.

La Pulpería Digital is a platform from Florida Ice & Farm, or FIFCO, that can, if you grant it your location, help you buy online from pulperías (Costa Rica’s corner stores) near you. Pulperías must be FIFCO clients to use the platform, but I can’t imagine one that isn’t, and it seems like a great way to source your basic products from small shops rather than supermarkets. I’d love to have a standing servicio express order long into the future to meet my family’s bean and beer needs. These being, of course, some of the most important needs there are.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola has pumped some advertising dollars into promoting the neighborhood stores that sell their products (again, pretty much all of them). From a post on their blog, I learned that family groceries make up 40% of food sales in Latin America – and as they point out, small stores, especially those where you order from a counter or window, are really ideally suited for today’s socially-distanced times.

It’s exciting to see mammoth companies and tiny family enterprises alike finding new ways to reach customers, because let’s face it: for our economies to survive, people will need to be able to buy Imperial beer from a local pulpería, and organic goat cheese from a rural collective, and all-natural skincare products from a microbusiness, and a pound of regular ol’ potatoes from the local farmer’s market. All online.

What’s springing up in your neighborhood?

(The featured image is “Pulpería La Estrella,” by Luz Delgado, featuring a corner store in San Juan de Tibás, San José. This image and many others can be found here. More in a future post!)

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or FacebookIf you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section, updated regularly – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.