Gentrification Threatens LA Black-Owned Businesses

by / ⠀News / March 4, 2024
"Gentrification Threat"

Los Angeles’ rapid urban development is posing a threat to several Black-owned businesses, including notable community spaces like the Salt Eaters Bookshop in Inglewood, due to increasing rental prices. The surge in gentrification is pushing these entities to struggle with rising property costs, putting them at risk.

Valued by its community, the Salt Eaters Bookshop presents unique events and products for its patrons. Owner Asha Grant shares the struggle of maintaining the operational aspects of the bookshop but is dedicated to nurturing this cultural refuge, a haven for its regular visitors who share a love for literature.

Reports indicate about one in three Black small-business owners are dealing with rising commercial rents, with even more small businesses across California at risk of eviction. This unsettling trend underscores the need for urgent intervention.

Forecasts reveal a potential increase in retail rent by 2023, exceeding even pre-pandemic levels. This could hike up operational budgets and trigger new trends like digitalization in the retail sector. However, it’s crucial for stakeholders to think collaboratively about potential coping strategies and for regulatory bodies to look at measures for managing possible inflation in the retail rental market.

In response to such challenges, Asha Grant has conceived rent parties with diverse themes that help support the bookstore’s operations. These rent parties are exciting events that celebrate culture while raising funds to keep the business alive.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit small businesses hard, particularly those owned by racial minorities. The lack of resources to weather this crisis threatens their survival and widens pre-existing racial wealth gaps. There’s a need for more inclusive policies and financial support to ensure the viability of these businesses.

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Despite economic hardships, spaces like the Salt Eaters Bookshop serve as vital cultural safe havens and focal points of community bonding, offering diverse literature that promotes understanding and fosters creativity. These establishments aren’t just sites for commercial transactions, but integral aspects of the community’s lifeblood and cultural identity, standing as beacons of hope in challenging times.

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