Rising Rents Threaten LA’s Black-Owned Businesses

by / ⠀News / February 28, 2024
Rising Rents

African American owned small businesses in Los Angeles face an imminent threat of closure, owing to rising commercial rents and rapid urban development. These increases directly undermine their stability and long-term survivability, putting at risk the cultural vibrancy unifying L.A communities.

Asha Grant’s Salt Eaters Bookshop in Inglewood signifies one such business feeling the financial strain. The Salt Eaters Bookshop, while a primary retail establishment, is also a vital community hub featuring events such as Black Queer Speed Dating. Grant remains committed to its continuation despite its related challenges.

Operational costs pose a significant burden to these businesses, as most are managed by a handful of individuals, intensifying the barrage of responsibilities for proprietors. Moreover, high rent, overheads, payroll, and slim profit margins add a layer of complexity to their financial struggles.

Reports from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies alongside those from the National Association of Realtors show escalating commercial rents affecting about 32% of Black-owned businesses. Factors that exacerbate this issue include gentrification, soaring property values, and inequitable economic policies leading to a growing number of black entrepreneurs relocating or shuttering their businesses.

Grant attempts to alleviate financial strain through a series of rent parties; however, these provide short-term support and don’t address the underlying structural problems. The bookstore lacks about 60% of its financial target. Despite these challenges, she continues to seek viable solutions while waiting for policy reforms.

The Covid-19 crisis has furthered the strain on small businesses, with aid programs offering inadequate relief and businesses owned by marginalized communities reporting higher closure rates. Policymakers must ensure equitable strategies in financial aid provision to secure the survival of these businesses and the communities they serve.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

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