By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
In New York and Los Angeles, the effects of the economic slowdown are hitting hard in one important sector of immigrant communities: small business owners.
A fixture of many New York neighborhoods, the bodega, is fast disappearing from many corners. The president of the Bodega Association of the United States claims that “every day, two or three bodegas close in New York.” High rents and leases that force them into rent hikes are their main enemy.
In L.A., vendors at the Grand Central Market — many of them Latino — are facing a similar situation. Business is down, way down, and they can’t meet rent payments.
A survey done by the USA Latin Chambers of Commerce said rent hikes and increasing operational costs threatens to put 61% of New York City bodegas out of business, according to a recent article in El Diario/La Prensa.
One example is Luis Sánchez, a bodeguero on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan who says his rent goes up 7% every year. He started paying $2,940 a month three years ago and now his rent is at $3,400 — he’s even had to fire his own brother recently. (more…)