North East Los Angeles is definitely on the road to regrettable gentrification, as richer people start to buy up the places poorer people didn’t even think were worth owning. Crappy homes bought by shitty people. What will become of the neighborhood? Take a guess. The most astounding part of this process of displacing the poor is the delusions of all parties involved. Those with money invest in “up and coming” areas (barf!) with the hopes that they can flip their investment and cash out. Mostly they do succeed. And the poor think that the arrival of fancy shops somehow means they will be miraculously included into that world and be able to enjoy some luxuries in their transformed neighborhood. They tend to get priced out of the hood before the conveniently located Starbucks or Yogurtland they so desperately want actually opens.
The delusions, expectations, and realities do not match up. I laugh the most when I hear that people want nice things locally, that the community is ready to support fancy shops in non-fancy neighborhoods. According to the internet, your “upscale” store concept will always be a success, and locals will flock to it because they want nice things in a community rampant with poverty. It rarely pans out.
I had been planning to write a long post at some point of all the failed local businesses that tried to cater to the fancy lads, but I keep pushing it further back. Maybe I will just start from now and mention the latest failures, the store closures most boosters try to ignore. Even though I did appreciate Figueroa Produce and bought stuff from there regularly, I knew it was going to come to an end eventually.
And it has. The promise of support that locals claimed would materialize for this grocery store seem to have been false. The internet lies again.