Maria Silva had been working as a cook in the food stand on Olvera Street called "La Noche Buena" in 1948 when Mrs. Christine Sterling offered her one of the empty puestos down the street in order for her to start her own retail import business. Mrs. Sterling had a keen eye for character and she saw in Mrs. Silva a fine hardworking woman who was determined to be successful in her adopted country.
In the 1940's,while living in Sacramento, California, Maria Silva experienced discrimination when her young daughter, Lydia was threatened and chased in the public schoolyard because she was of Mexican decent. The frightened youngster was saved when she ran into a classroom to avoid the crowd of taunting Anglo children. Mrs. Silva wrote to the school board and was persistent in changing attitudes in her school and community. Soon classmates and parents were invited to each others homes and her handling of the ugly incident was turned into a positive learning experience.
When Mrs. Silva opened her puesto she began selling decorated beach bags, baskets and assorted Mexican curios taking her cue from fellow merchants about which items were best sellers.
The second generation, Salvador and Elvira Feria, took over the family shop in 1976 and continued selling imported souvenirs and hand picked decorative "Barro". By the 1980's the shop's primary focus was on imported leather goods and wallets. The popular "Bogie" and "Godfather" style hats are also a popular item, as well as assorted imported Panama hats.
In the early 1990's Maria Garcia the neighboring shop owner retired and sold her business to the Feria family.
For four generations the family has proudly participated in the traditions of Olvera Street and shared their pride in the values, traditions, and culture that were instilled in the family by the fiercely determined matriarch of the family, Maria Silva.
The Feria shop prides itself in selling well chosen merchandize for the best price. Currently the shops are run by Lydia and George Feria, their son, Steve, and grandson, Armando.
Armando, a gifted classical pianist and guitarist is a past member of the very popular "East L.A. Sabor Factory" band and is currently developing a new band.