How can I remain a responsible consumer? - Little Tokyo Service Center

How can I remain a responsible consumer?

As COVID continues to impact small businesses, how can I remain a responsible consumer?

By Mariko Lochridge, LTSC Small Business Consultant

In 2020, the CDC announced that older adults (60+) were at-risk for serious illness from COVID-19. This information was alarming for a historic neighborhood like Little Tokyo, which has a high concentration of senior residents and ‘silver’ entrepreneurs.

Picture of Bros Bonsai Design owner, Albert Rivera (L), chats with Anzen Hardware owner Nori Takatani (R).

Over 100 small businesses closed in downtown Los Angeles during the pandemic. Gratefully, Little Tokyo celebrates 75 years of entrepreneurial resilience at Anzen. Pine Bros Bonsai Design owner, Albert Rivera (L), chats with Anzen Hardware owner Nori Takatani (R).

Across the United States, the national average of a small business owners is 50 years old–and Little Tokyo is no exception. Many of our legacy businesses are owned, operated and staffed by 55+ year old ‘mom and pops’ who are not only the chefs, managers, and storekeepers of their businesses but the hearts of our community cornerstones.

The obstacle course of rising rents, rapidly changing health mandates and disrupted supply lines threatened the delicate ecosystem of ethnic enclaves for our small business owners. Last year Spectrum News reported that Los Angeles has lost the most small businesses since the pandemic began.While some business owners were able to stay home and shelter in place, most continued working throughout the entire pandemic.

Heartwarmingly, calls and messages from concerned community members poured into our small business program.

“Is Fugetsudo open?” “Could you check on Hiroshi-san (Kouraku) for me?” “Do you know if Suehiro does takeout?”

And the most common question: “How can I help?”

At the beginning of the pandemic we asked you to order takeout, purchase gift cards and leave heartfelt reviews online. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, with supply chains buckling and inflation skyrocketing,  we ask consumers to exercise patience. From understaffed restaurants to delayed retail delivery, we remind you that shopping for a gift or eating out with friends is more than a purchase–it’s an experience as unique as the business you’re patronizing.

As you exercise patience with our small business owners and staff, make sure to also be patient with yourself as you incorporate lifestyle changes to reflect your values as a responsible consumer. In a world of one-click online shopping, supporting local entrepreneurs may not be the convenient choice–but it’s one you can be proud of.

Lastly, please remember to wear your mask when visiting Little Tokyo. We can’t wait to see you!

Koto shi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.


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