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Love Tiki-Ti? Canter’s? Longtime LA Businesses Under Pressure From High Rents Could Get Help From City

A bicycle rests against the outside walls of Tiki-Ti's
(sam_frank via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Family-owned businesses in Los Angeles — where ownership has been passed down through generations — and places that have been in their original location for decades are facing a variety of financial pressures, and now they may be getting some financial help from the city.

The L.A. City Council is considering a pilot program to ensure the survival of up to 245 "legacy businesses" by providing nearly $3.7 million in grants — up to $20,000 for each business — to help out qualifying local favorites such as:

  • Los Cinco Puntos in Boyle Heights, which has been operating since 1967.
  • Tiki-Ti, which has been slinging drinks from its Los Feliz location since 1961.
  • Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery, operating from its Sawtelle location since 1934.

Gentrification, soaring rents and the pandemic have put legacy businesses under a lot of pressure, Adrian Scott Fine of the L.A. Conservancy told Larry Mantle on AirTalk, our newsroom’s public affairs show. Many have already closed, and he said it's essential to focus on saving the ones that remain.

"These mom and pop shops, if they don't survive, we lose a tangible asset in terms of what makes a place like L.A., or any community, special,” Fine said.

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Raising awareness and recognizing the importance of legacy businesses as “critical neighborhoods’ anchors and amenities" has been on the Conservancy's radar since 2019.

As a prime example, It points to the La Casa del Mariachi in Boyle Heights, where owner Jorge Tello has made custom mariachi garments since 2002. On its website, the Conservancy says Tello's Sister plans to keep the shop running when he retires. But it asks, "who will local mariachi musicians turn to for custom suits after her?"

The council's Economic Development and Jobs committee will be reviewing the proposal in May.

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