Kenneth Gerard, co-owner of Urban Experience Bookstore and Publications in Baldwin Hills
photo by Jennifer Bihm
“[The issue of] credit may be the new form of discrimination,” says Kenneth Gerard, co-owner of Urban Experience Bookstore and Publications in Baldwin Hills.
“If you don’t have credit you can’t get a job, you can’t buy housing, you can’t get an apartment…”
The problem is, he said, is that eighty five percent of all minorities have bad credit. Gerard hopes to be part of the solution however, with his new book, Credit Cleansing Kit: The Idiots Guide to Credit Repair. The yellow and black “hard- ish” front cover promises valuable information on the inside like: ‘what your credit report says about you,’ ‘how collection agencies ruin credit,’ and ‘how to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report.’
Gerard hopes the book will be especially helpful to prisoners.
“We discounted our book just for prisoners so it can be sent to them and while they’re there, they can start working on their credit,” Gerard explained.
“So when they come out, they may be able to get a job or if they want to start a business or find decent housing after they’ve gotten a job, they’ll have a decent credit report…”
The Credit Cleansing project is part of UE’s wider prison outreach, which involves getting magazines and other publications to correctional facilities throughout and outside the state of California. Outside the prisons, Gerard wants to spark a passion for reading among “today’s urban youth.” It’s the reason the former financial planning employee started UE two years ago.
Since then, he has been fearlessly selling tangible reading in an almost entirely digital reading era and seems to be doing well.
“I don’t care how much the Internet [encourages] digital reading, people still like to have a physical book in their hands,” he said.
Proving his point is the steady stream of customers who flock to the newsstand located on the first floor of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza right outside of Sears. They come for everything from candy and gum, to the wide array of publications to conversation with Gerard himself. His wife Tiffany, in an earlier interview with the Sentinel attributed UE’s success to providing people with a “sense of community.”
Visit urbanxbookstore.com and click on Cancel Bad Credit for more information about Credit Cleansing Kit. For general UEB information visit the website or call 323-245-2865. Credit Cleansing sells for $24.95 including shipping and handling. The e-book is also available.