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Sitting in front of a wall made of pink silk flora and illuminated by bright pink neon lights, Elizabeth Raygoza fixed her hair one last time before posing for the camera.
“Smiling, classic—you can’t go wrong,” Raygoza said. “They always say it’s in the legs, you know,” she added of how to strike a perfect sitting selfie pose.
Then Raygoza headed behind the counter. After all, she had work to do, serving an ever-increasing customer base at La Michoacana Rose, her ice cream shop at 6322 Bass Lake Road in the suburb of Crystal.
The shop offers traditional Mexican ice creams, sorbets, popsicles, bars, and other frozen treats, along with fruits, chips, and corn.
But it’s just as popular for its appeal as the perfect site for a selfie.
About “My Work”: This ongoing Sahan Journal series highlights Minnesotans’ experiences in the workforce, from profiles of small business owners to up-close portraits of people in various jobs. We aim to share stories that reveal how Minnesotans of color contribute to the state’s workforce.
Want to share your story with us or know someone we should write about? Email labor reporter Alfonzo Galvan at agalvan@sahanjournal with the subject heading “My Work.”
White tables and chairs line a colorful mural-covered wall. The attention getter, however, is the pink floral wall in the corner, fronted by a wooden bench. A neon sign on the wall spells out the business’s name.
Owner Raygoza, 28, has worked at the store since it opened in November 2019. Since then, La Michoacana Rose has expanded to three locations:
- 6322 Bass Lake Road in Crystal.
- 8097 Central Avenue Northeast in Spring Lake Park.
- 5055 France Avenue in Edina.
Raygoza, most often found behind the counter at the original location, also works occasionally at the other two sites.
An entrepreneur at heart, Raygoza said she saw the need for a Mexican ice cream shop after arriving in the Twin Cities from Nayarit, Mexico, 20 years ago.
“The biggest thing that I realized when I moved here was there’s nothing like this,” she said.
After a brief stint in college in her late teens and working various jobs, Raygoza decided to make her dream a reality.
An entrepreneur’s dream come true
It started with the name. Rose is her 5-year-old daughter’s middle name. The little girl was also the inspiration behind the business’s logo.
Then, Raygoza needed to add a bit of herself into the business.
She added the murals and floral walls because they’re similar to flourishes she enjoys seeing while eating out. And like many among her clientele, Raygoza is always looking for a good selfie spot.
“I am younger, compared to most [in business], so this is kind of the stuff that I look for,” she said. “I wanted to make a similar space here where a lot of younger generations can come in and have a snack and feel comfortable.”
Raygoza’s desire to offer more than counter-service Mexican snacks to her clientele has resulted in a boom in business.
“I have specific people that come in,” she said. “Sometimes they ask me to move the table so they can take a picture by the mural wall.”
Her shops’ floral walls and murals have become go-to spots for social media influencers and young people. Tik Tok and Instagram posts bring in new customers looking to re-create photos they’ve seen online.
“We definitely see customers in here that come in right away to take their pictures,” Raygoza said. “In the summertime we have lines out the door.”
Raygoza said the social media publicity has shaped her clientele. Many are younger and non-Latino, so coming to her shop allows them to experience a different culture.
It’s also becoming a tourist attraction. One recent Instagram post was from a Brazilian woman who visited the ice cream shop while in the Twin Cities.
“She saw it from someone else, a flower wall, and then there she was, taking her own photos, hanging out on the swing,” Raygoza said.
Newer customers who may not be familiar with Mexican treats often watch what others in line order or reference social media for information about the food, she said.
“They show me pictures other people have posted and ask for the same thing,” Raygoza said.
Now, three stores in, Raygoza said her focus isn’t on expanding or opening new shops but rather on improving customer service at her existing locations.
And on staying up-to-date on social media and on trends embraced by her younger customers.
“Those are the ones that I’m more worried about, because they’re smart,” she said. “They have access to so much, and they’re our future.”