From One Small Business to the Next in Los Angeles

Glancing at memory lane, it’s my pleasure to share a bit about the origins of JIMBO TIMES. Pictured above, to the left and across of ‘Mr. Snazzyshirt’ stands my mom’s newsstand when it was located right at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica boulevard in East Hollywood.

Today it’s located farther east on Santa Monica boulevard, just right across the street from East Hollywood’s Union Swap Meet. The difference of location might not seem like a major event, but business at my mother’s stand took a significant loss following its relocation in 2009.

The newsstand at the corner as it’s shown above was simply stronger; it was right in front of the Metro’s 204 and 754 bus stops, where people heavily foot-trafficked the area; that stand was also operating at a time when more people were still buying newspapers and magazines, which is otherwise known as the antiquated era just before smartphones upended our lives.

Moreover, the newsstand above was doing business before the onset of the Great Recession, which impacted the predominantly working class folks that were my mother’s customers, and of course, mom herself, more than it impacted many other groups of Angelenos.

Back in 2009 none of us could predict things as they’d happen, but mom knew she had a good location for her business right at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica. She wanted to keep the stand there indefinitely, but when L.A. City Inspectors got involved citing safety concerns due to the stand’s proximity to the bus, that was it.

Preferring to get on with work rather than fighting the city, we broke the stand down and rebuilt it down the block. It’s been there ever since, serving a smaller and different cast of characters. But smartphones have not slowed down, just as the Great Recession hasn’t yet resided, if it even is residing.

Still, whether rain or shine, my mom opens her newsstand essentially every day of the week. Nestled between two trees at the center of Madison and Vermont, her business serves a purpose far bigger than can be known at first glance.

I don’t know how mom does it, but she just does, and it still works for us, somehow, even if doesn’t quite work like it used to. One thing is for sure, however. All the newspapers and magazines I’d nab from the stand still live in my memory. Among them, publications like Kaliman, Condorito, and Memin Pinguin fed my love for the written word, my love for the power of imagination.

Today, as I set about to do something different with this blog, I know that if my mother could make words work for our family since this photo was taken, then I can do it for us in days ahead too. Indeed, I just have to.

J.T.

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J.T.

Born and raised in the Los. Los Cuentos. J.T.

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