Leimert Park has seen busier days. Take a stroll down Degnan Blvd and you will run into a lot less people than when our country was in better economic times.
You will not have to wait very long to receive service at many of the shops, because a number of the shops lack very many customers at any given time, and some shops could be on the verge of closing.
“I was reading that Montana St. in Santa Monica was looking like a ghost town,” said James Fugate of Eso Won Bookstore. “They said that a lot of shops were going out of business. They could have said that of Leimert Park.”
The shelves at the bookstore are leaner because they do not want to carry so many books when sales are not very high. In the past they were able to rely on a lot of street traffic. People would just be in the area, stick their head in, and possibly purchase a book. But with the street nearly empty they cannot rely on that anymore.
Lowering the prices is not really an option because the prices on books are pretty much set. They do hold sales to bring more customers in, but they cannot lower the prices across the board.
“I hope the economy is going to bounce back, but they say it’s still bottoming out,” said Fugate. “They say it might take another year or two. I don’t know if everyone can hold out that long.”
The bookstore is running now, but there is always a chance of it having to be shut down because of low sales. Even though they do not carry as many books does not mean that they do not have certain books available. Customers can still order books at the store.
Jackie Ryan, owner of Zambezi Bazaar, has taken a different approach. She has the ability to adjust her prices to bring customers in.
“We really work hard on our prices,” Ryan said. “We really try to find the best price possible for the value of the product.”
Ryan says that traffic in Leimert Park has slowed down for everybody across the board.
“But it still has a pulse,” Ryan said. “It still has a beat to it. We have to keep our prices right, because people buy according to price,”
Ryan looks for products that she can purchase at an inexpensive rate so that she can pass the savings on to her customers. But she does look for products that still look good.
With stores all over the community struggling, the only way to keep them in business is to shop within the community. Or one day landmarks in our community, such as the famed Leimert Park, could be lost.