The importance of supporting small businesses became more significant as the pandemic hit in 2020 when folk on social media were advocating the struggles of small businesses.
Due to the start of this virus, there was little-to-no foot traffic on the streets and smaller businesses were struggling to keep up with rent and had no choice but to shut down.
Small businesses selling jewelry, crystals, custom-made tumblers and more were receiving all the glory online by having their posts shared on social media and eventually increasing the amount of pop-up shops in the area.
Recently, an increased presence of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Los Angeles police officers, and Federal agencies were reported in Inglewood to ‘increase security and protection’ for the big Superbowl LVI game held on Feb. 13.
While officials claimed the increased amount of security was in preparation for potential riots in the area following the game, the reality is that they were making attempts to drive out street vendors [on one of their busiest days of the year].
Street vendors are individual merchants who offer products for sale in stands and booths on sidewalks to attract passing pedestrians according to Law Insider.
Street vendors are our local eloteros, paleteros, fruteros, and the never-ending hot dog and burger stands in Downtown LA.
Many street vendors are immigrants, some undocumented and/or low-income.
One of the most important things to note about our street vendors, however, is that they are small businesses trying to make a living, too.
They’re small businesses without the social media platform to help boost their network. More often than not, these vendors use this as their only source of income whereas labeled small business owners usually have a main job on the side.
Driving out street vendors reduces individuals’ ability to put food on the table for their families and serve as the main provider.
You wouldn’t want local favorites like Loquita, Bath and Body or Susy’s Sweets to be in those situations, so we shouldn’t allow our street vendors to.
If you say you’ve ever bought fruit off the corner, an elote or raspado from the guy walking around the park with his cart, or a bacon-wrapped hot dog at a booth or stand and didn’t enjoy it then you’re lying.
Small businesses and street vendors are mutually important. It is important that we give exposure to our local street vendors just as much as we do our named, small businesses.
Street vendors are an essential part of Los Angeles street culture and livelihood.
About 50,000 street vendors walk the streets in LA, a 2014 report by the city of Los Angeles said. Street vendors bring life, culture and social solidarity to our communities, and make cities feel safer.
Even so, being a street vendor comes with a lot of risks that being a named small business might not. Street vendors are at risk of being robbed, shut down by cities, and chased by I.C.E.
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to protect and support our street vendors.
Buying from the eletero next time you hear their horns down the street, or looking out for them when you’re visiting LA, is one of the best ways to start.
Shop small, shop local and most importantly, support our street vendors.