From One Small Business to the Next

‘Mr. Snazzyshirt’: PC: Eric Beteille, aka ‘Pedestrian Photographer’; November 22, 2008; East Hollywood.

Like a theme park, JIMBO TIMES has been an adventure, filled with all kinds of colors, characters, and the creations by these things when brought together.

One such moment can be traced right above. In the picture, to the left of ‘Mr. Snazzyshirt’ lies my mother’s newsstand when it was located right at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica boulevard.

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

The newsstand at the corner as it’s shown above was simply stronger; it was right in front the Metro’s 204 and 754 bus stops, where people heavily trafficked the sidewalk, and when they were still buying newspapers and magazines. This antiquated era can also be thought of as the time just before smartphones took over nearly every aspect of our lives.

Moreover, the stand above was in business just before the onset of the Great Recession, which impacted the predominantly working class folks that were my mother’s customers more than many other group of Angelenos.

Of course, back then my mom couldn’t predict it all as it’d happen, but she knew she had a good location where at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica. She wanted to keep the stand there indefinitely, but had little choice in the matter. Only a few months after this photo was taken, city inspectors showed up one afternoon requesting that she move, citing safety concerns.

In turn, preferring to get on with work rather than fighting the regulators, we broke the stand down and rebuilt it down the block. It’s been there steadily ever since, but the rise of smartphones and their impact on small business like mom’s is still in progress, just as the Great Recession is just residing, if it is in fact residing.

Even so, rain or shine, my mom still opens the stand essentially every day of the week. I don’t know how she does it, but she just does, and it still works for us, somehow, even if it doesn’t work as much as it once did. At the same time, all the newspapers and magazines I’d nab from the stand over the years would play a pivotal role in shaping my love for the written word. I’d read Kaliman, Condorito, and Memin Pinguin, among other great publications there.

Today, with these memories still firmly intact, I know that if my mother could make words work for our family since this photo, then somehow, I can do it for us as well in the days and photos that follow.

After all, as noted at the outsetJIMBO TIMES is still for you, Mama.


Author: J.T.

I'm a writer, editor, and photographer with a passion for community development in Los Angeles. While my editing work covers a range of different subjects, my writing focuses primarily on social welfare in the city, including education at L.A.'s public middle and high schools, public transportation planning and efficacy, housing and small business policy, as well as voting turnout for local elections and policy. My photography is similarly city-based, focusing mostly on what makes Los Angeles home to so many working-class people from all across the U.S.A. and throughout the world. Enjoy.

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