Business trends in Los Angeles: Contractors see growth; cannabis clinics decline

Empire Home Remodeling was among the new business pages created in the "contractor" category. | Photo: Sapeer A./Yelp

Local businesses are the heartbeat of the city, providing jobs, diversions, products and services to locals and visitors alike. And while change is constant in business and the cycle of openings and closings can sometimes hide the bigger picture, business trends can help to measure the pulse of the city.

So Hoodline analyzed data from LA business pages on Yelp to see which business categories are gaining ground in the past month, which are on the decline, and what areas of the city may be seeing changes in the local business landscape.


It seems to have been a positive month for Los Angeles's contractor businesses, with 54 new Yelp pages created in that category, including Empire Home Remodeling. That's a 1.6 percent rate of growth for that type of operation. (Los Angeles already houses 3,478 contractor businesses.)

For comparison, the total number of retail and service businesses grew 0.9 percent citywide in the same time period, while total dining options in the city also grew 0.9 percent, again based on the rate of business pages created vs. pages marked as "closed" on Yelp.
The six businesses categories that saw the biggest gain or loss in Yelp business pages since January 2018. The bold line highlights the category that grew most in the past month. | GRAPHIC: HOODLINE

New business pages also indicate gains for real estate agents and eyelash services, based on a month-over-month analysis of Yelp data.

With seven new business pages appearing in downtown LA over the past month--the most among the city's neighborhoods--the area was a hotbed of contractor activity (relatively speaking, of course).

But keep an eye on Florence-Firestone. That neighborhood added three contractor businesses, bringing its total to 14, according to Yelp data.

When it comes to food and drink establishments, the name of the game is coffee and tea, which this month saw nine new business pages created--the most for any food and drink category--for a total of 1,921 in the city. Skid Row Coffee is one of them.

You also have more options for street vendors and delis than you did a month ago, by Yelp's latest count.

Some business categories grew greatly in percentage terms. For instance, fondue spots rose 100 percent in the past month. But that's due to the addition of just one business page, bringing the total to two. Nail technician offerings saw more notable growth, adding 10 business pages for a 16 percent increase. The greater number of initial businesses means the percentage growth is less likely to be a fluke in the data.
The six categories of businesses in the city that had the largest percentage gain or loss in pages listed on Yelp since January 2018. The bold line highlights the category that performed best in the past month. | GRAPHIC: HOODLINE

Business closures are a fact of life. But just which types of businesses saw net declines over the past month, based on Yelp data?

While the roofing category has seen net growth this year, pages for roofing fell the most in Los Angeles over the past month, with six businesses marked as "closed" on Yelp, including Firstfinished Carpenters & Contractors. Pages for cannabis clinics also declined this month.

On the gastronomic side of things, New American and fast food may be losing ground as well.

Just as some neighborhoods are more residential while others have a commercial concentration, business openings and closings do not happen evenly across the city. We calculated the net change in new Yelp pages vs. deleted or marked "closed" to get a handle on which Los Angeles neighborhoods saw the largest relative gains and losses in commercial establishments of all types.

In the past month, Silver Lake experienced the city's largest net loss of businesses, according to Yelp page counts. Total business pages for the neighborhood fell by 19 overall. Meanwhile, downtown Los Angeles led the city's neighborhoods, with a net gain of 164 businesses.

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