Mom and pop merchants face uncertainty in Inglewood

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Mom and pop shops and restaurant owners in Inglewood fear for their future as rents increase near the new NFL stadium.

The owner of Jamz Creamery said he must raise his prices in January because his landlord wants an extra helping of rent money.

"Our monthly price to lease the place up went up close to double," owner James Allen said.

At M&M Soul Food, owner Beverly Brinson has a different landlord but a similar dilemma. She said her landlord raised her rent from $6,200 to $14,000 per month.

"And it is not worth it. We don't make that," she said.

Brinson has operated at her Manchester Boulevard and Prairie Avenue location for eight years.

The reason, merchants say, is Inglewood's changing landscape. They blame speculators positioning themselves for the opening of the NFL stadium, which is set for 2020.

"The owner, he thinks that because the stadium is coming that it is going to bring money - and it will. But the money is not here now," Brinson said.

Business prospectors are not new arrivals to Inglewood says Mayor James Butts. He said the upturn started in 2012, before the stadium was envisioned.

"Since 2012, real estate values have gone up 125 percent. Business licenses taken out in the city are up 200 percent," Butts said.

Brinson said she is looking for a new location for her Mississippi soul food. The owner of Jamz Creamery said he is expanding at his present location on Manchester Boulevard and will pass on the added expense to customers.

"They honestly don't even look at the price board. They come in and get what they want," Allen said.
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