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Two Shy Men and a Flashy Bodega

So what color do you paint a bodega? You want it to be eye-catching without being garish. But sometimes a bodega’s color scheme is a no-brainer. For Eddie Oller, owner of the Latin Market in Jamaica Plain, MA, he simply chose yellow and green.  Why?

“Yellow and green, those are the colors of the Jamaican flag,” he says. Then he must be from Jamaica, right? “No, I am from Santo Domingo.” Why did he choose those colors then? “Because I like them,” he said.

Like Raphael Peña, his fellow countryman from Yessenia’s Market two blocks down, Eddie was formerly employed in the cleaning business. He also worked in bodegas as a young man in Santo Domingo. Today he runs a tight ship at the Latin Market, working the store with his nephew and servicing a steady line of customers. Does he see his sons and daughters eventually taking over the bodega? “Of course not,” he smiles. “They’ve already made their decisions. They’re professional people now.”

Mr. Oller's Nephew
Mr. Oller’s Cautious Nephew

Mr. Oller declined to be photographed for his interview; his nephew agreed, yet only from behind. (I believe he feared loss of street cred.) “Just don’t show my tats, man!” he said.

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Peter Bates

Peter Bates is a writer and photographer living in Florida. He is the administrator of this blog and runs the blog Stylus.

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Published in Articles & Reviews Bodega Interviews

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