Ong on Pandemic’s Blow to Mom-and-Pop Businesses

Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin, spoke to the Los Angeles Times for a column about the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on independent booksellers and other mom-and-pop operations that are part of the city’s historical identity. Ong’s research looks at specific neighborhoods, and preliminary trends show that small businesses in ethnic enclaves have been particularly hard-hit. “We’re talking to some community folks close to the ground who are saying that many of these businesses will not be back,” Ong said. In some ethnic neighborhoods, merchants didn’t appear to have access to financial resources, or language barriers kept them from making full use of government assistance, he said. Ong noted, however, that largely Latino Boyle Heights has fared pretty well, possibly because major hospitals in the neighborhood help anchor the micro-economy. COVID-19’s impact on ethnic communities is felt nationwide. An NBC News article on Asian Americans struggling in New York City also highlighted Ong’s research.  

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