Inglewood Bookshop Confronts Surging Rents and Urban Development

by / ⠀News / February 29, 2024
"Surging Urban Development"

In Inglewood, California, The Salt Eaters Bookshop is more than a bookstore—it’s a cultural and social center for the local Black community. The shop hosts events like Black Queer Speed Dating and consistently promotes active community engagement through regular book club meetings, poetry readings, author signings, inclusive learning workshops, and educational forums. It celebrates the richness of Black culture and thought, adding a touch of positivity within the community. However, this important cultural cornerstone is currently grappling with survival amidst rising rents and rapid urban development.

As escalating rent and rapid development pressure continue to mount, small businesses, particularly Black-owned ones, are put at risk. The cultural significance of these small businesses is undeniable, yet they often face a lack of adequate resources and supportive measures. An alarming trend reveals that 32% of Black small-business owners, similar to Asha Grant, who owns the bookshop, are dealing with growing economic challenges, with over half facing the threat of eviction due to towering rent prices.

In 2023, with the future of her beloved business uncertain, Grant turned to crowdfunding and conducted rent parties to raise necessary funds. Despite the influx of funds, the bookstore continues its battle to remain afloat. The question remains: will community support be enough to save the book shop?

Furthermore, with the Covid-19 pandemic implemented lockdown measures many Black community spaces endured severe strain, edging ever closer to shutting down. Government relief programs also fell short, further amplifying the challenges faced by these important cultural spaces.

The story of The Salt Eaters Bookshop serves as a microcosm of the larger struggles Black small-business owners face in Los Angeles and beyond. These businesses are much more than commercial spaces—they’re pillars within their communities, contributing to a sense of belonging, identity, and shared history. Despite the adversities, they exhibit resilience and commitment, standing as a testament to Black entrepreneurial spirit. This highlights the pressing need for policy actions and resources to back small businesses and communities—ensuring their survival and growth amid adversity.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.