Village displaces local businesses

first_imgClick here to view this article with more media in our “It Takes a Village: USC and the Community” project package.For more than 30 years, Akm Alam has considered his business, Quik-Pix Photo Lab, to be a part of the USC community and the Trojan Family. Two years ago, his photo printing store took up a small space in the old University Village, sandwiched between campus and the Row. The space was a home for Alam. He was friendly with the students who came in for passport pictures and professional head shots and loyal to the faculty members who returned to his store year after year. Working near USC provided him with many benefits — a safe location, a steady and predominantly wealthy clientele base. Being a part of the Trojan family helped Alam survive.But the beginning of the new Village’s construction forced Alam to leave his old store behind. He spent several years preparing for the inevitable, until construction officially began in 2014. He had no choice but to move north to an even smaller space closer to the highway. Since then, business has only dwindled. Alam’s story is only one of the many local businesses who were forced to relocate to make room for the Village.Finding a new homeAlam’s new store is tucked into a strip mall on Vermont Ave., a 12-minute walk north of campus. On a muggy April morning, he leaves the door hanging open. Inside, his space is cramped. A photo backdrop and lighting equipment take up the back half of the room behind the front counter. The front half is consumed with scattered chairs and shelves of camera equipment and picture frames. He leans against the front counter as he explains, in a quiet and almost cheerful voice, that he has lost almost 80 percent of his business. That 80 percent has been lost in less than two years. Some of that is natural — he is running a photo printing business in an age where pictures are stored digitally, shared on social media and rarely put into print.But his main drop in customers came when he was forced to leave his University Village location and find a new place to operate. There are many factors behind this change. Alam suspects that many of his former clientele aren’t even aware that he relocated rather than closing down. Now, his business mainly comes from the local area, a steep drop from his past days of serving faculty and students.“It’s a completely different group of people that I get here now,” Alam said. “I miss the students, the faculty members. There were people who came to my store for years, people who I knew. Now there’s not as much [business] at all.”Constructing a new imageThe construction of the Village first began to affect local business owners in the area in 2010. At that time, all businesses in the area that is now in the process of becoming the Village were transitioned into month-to-month leases. But the greatest change came on May 1, 2014, when the businesses located in the space were forced to move out. For chain restaurants that were previously located in the Village’s space, the transition was relatively simple. Businesses such as the Denny’s and Superior Grocers — which were in the former Village — had a wider range of options due to their status as a franchise. All employees were guaranteed jobs at other locations, which meant that none of those employees or managers had to worry about losing their jobs. The main inconvenience fell upon customers who no longer had the convenience of those stores close by.But for locally- owned businesses, the transition was much different. According to USC Civic Engagement Senior Vice President Craig Keys, 17 of the 37 businesses removed from the Village space were non-franchise businesses. Though the label of “non-franchise” does not necessarily mean that a business is locally owned, most of these businesses were similar to Alam’s store. From mom- and- pop convenience stores to a locally-owned hair salon that had been in the area for 40 years, these local businesses relied on their proximity to campus and USC clientele base in order to survive. The move away from campus did more than create a change in location for these businesses — it completely displaced them from the community in which they had grown and thrived.The businesses in the area had known the move was coming since 2010. That was when their rents were switched to from year-long to month-by-month, and it signalled a new era for the local businesses. The University connected each of the businesses up- to- date on their rent to a real estate company in order to find a new location. This offer was extended to both franchise and non-franchise businesses, so that everyone involved had the opportunity to relocate. The University also provided financial assistance for the relocation or closing of a business. According to Keys, most tenants received anywhere from $17,500 to $20,000 in assistance. An uncertain futureYet for business owners like Alam, the cost of relocating wasn’t the issue. With ample time to prepare, he found a space quickly, without the aid of the real estate agent. It’s just not the space he wants. With his store situated several blocks north of campus, and his clientele now mainly consisting of members of the community, he feels that he is beginning to lose a grip on his business.Ideally, Alam would hope for his old space close to campus. However, this most likely won’t be a possibility. The new space will not be focused on retail, but rather on providing a living and community space for USC students. It aims to fulfill the need for a community living space for sophomore and transfer students, while simultaneously driving down the cost of student living by providing more housing options. The space is also expected to create a wider selection of businesses, community spaces and living spaces in order to diversify the space to create a vital new part of the community.“The old University Village was a community- serving retail establishment which leased space to small business entities, but did not provide an environment or mix of amenities that could promote the success of the tenant businesses,” Keys said. “The new USC Village provides the amenities desired by the community in an environment that is better structured for the economic success of the retail tenants.”This means, however, that there will be significantly less room for retail space. The Village spans more than 2 million square feet of space, but most of that space will be student housing. Retail space will only take up 160,000 square feet, a significant decrease from the amount that was afforded to businesses in the previous space.One of the goals of the project is to create 12,000 new jobs through construction, but these jobs will only last on a temporary basis until the Village’s completion. The Village will also create permanent employment in the new establishments. However, most of these jobs will be focused in chain businesses or working in the residential halls. This means that there will be little to no space for local businesses to move back into the area. Keys does believe that some local businesses will be able to come into the space, but the expectations will be raised for the types of establishments that are welcomed into the community.“The quality and relevance of the amenities and general environment  intended for the new USC Village are substantially higher than that of the old University Village,” Keys said. “Consistent with the needs of the Uuniversity and community, we are seeking best-in-class tenants to populate our key food and beverage, retail and service locations.  So while we will have several national brands, we will also have a variety of local and regional offerings.”Alam, like many other local business owners, isn’t worried about a future with the Village — he’s simply trying to survive with what he has now.His new store is smaller, and the rent is less expensive. He’s partnered with another photographer to start offering options such as event photography or senior portraits. Yet Alam admits that he sees no future for his business now. Without the access to his clientele base of students and faculty, he simply feels that his time has run out.“In business, you always do what you can to keep going,” Alam said. “But this is not going to keep going. It just can’t.”last_img read more

Aggressive defense aids UW

first_imgWith an overtime goal to give the home team the win Sunday night, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team wrapped up its weekend series with two victories.After a 2-1 victory over Illinois (7-5-2, 4-2-1 Big Ten) Sunday and a win by the same score Friday over Northwestern (4-10-2, 0-8-0), Wisconsin earned its second and third Big Ten victories thanks in large part to solid play by UW’s defensive unit.In a weekend where the defense allowed only two goals, the strong defensive play Sunday impressed head coach Paula Wilkins. “I thought it was a group effort in defending,” Wilkins said. “[Illinois] came out with a different system than we expected them to play, so people were able to adapt which I was really happy with. Lindsey Johnson has been fantastic for us in the back and being able to step in for (Alexandra) Heller. She was [as] good again today as she was on Friday.”The Badgers (10-5-1, 3-4-1) held the Fighting Illini to just seven shots on goal with junior goalkeeper Genevieve Richard stopping six of them.Richard, who has now started four games for Wisconsin, got the nod Sunday, but it was redshirt senior Lauren Gunderson who started for the Badgers on Friday despite Richard’s shutout in Wisconsin’s game against UW-Green Bay Monday. Wilkins explained the choice to start two different goalkeepers this weekend.“They are both great goalkeepers and they both bring different things,” Wilkins said. “We thought what Illinois brought to the game was going to be the strength for Genevieve today. We are looking at that game-by-game in terms of what goalkeeper brings special qualities.“It’s so difficult as a coach because they give me the most challenging problem of deciding who is going to play, because they both bring great things to the game.”Richard has 18 saves and has allowed only four goals in her four starts.The Wisconsin goalkeeper may have been able to earn her second-straight shutout if it wasn’t for Illinois forward Marissa Holden, who drilled a shot to the far upper corner of the goal in the 41st minute.Illinois’ goal was reminiscent of another goal made last Friday on Richard by Nebraska’s Mayme Conroy, who nailed a top corner shot in overtime.Richard was happy with the way she played on Sunday and is determined to stop at least one top corner missile this year.“[The Illinois goal] made me think of the Nebraska goal (last weekend). I was very close to it, so I will work on it in practice. I just want to save it at least once. I have to, it’s like my ego,” Richard said with a smile. “Strikers cannot just keep doing the same ball.“Overall I think [I played] fine. I really focused on getting over the ball. My kicks in the first half were terrible. I think it is not acceptable for me to give counterattacks and gifts to the opponent, so I will work on it again.”Friday it was Gunderson who played goalkeeper for the Badgers, recording three saves and holding the Wildcats to just one goal.After getting out to a fast 2-0 lead, Gunderson was happy the Wisconsin defense continued to play at full intensity despite playing with a two-goal cushion.“At the end, to win a game you kind of have to keep focusing on the details,” Gunderson said. “I didn’t think that we did that in a couple other games that we lost so it was good that we came out and worked hard.”In both games over the weekend, Wisconsin was able to keep the opponent’s offensive pressure to a minimum, doing well to limit the opposing transition attack.Senior defender Joana Bielefeld thought her defensive squad did a nice job stopping the fast breaks of the opposition.“For the most part I think that we really defended as a team and stopped them from transitioning,” Bielefeld said. “We were really concentrating on tackling and I think for the most part we did a good job.”Follow Spencer on Twitterlast_img read more

Colin Kaepernick hands out food to homeless in Oakland on his birthday

first_img 10 months ago Pope Francis mistakenly tweets support for NFL’s New Orleans Saints Written By Pls read this in it’s entirety. It’s important you know the FACTS from Colin’s football agent about @Kaepernick7 .The @nfl uses their media sources to spew lies and false narratives.It’s important we hold people accountable who are putting out misinformation to the public. https://t.co/1vb89PAK0c— NESSA (@nessnitty) October 10, 2019 SUBSCRIBE TO US Last Updated: 5th November, 2019 15:49 IST Colin Kaepernick Hands Out Food To Homeless In Oakland On His Birthday Colin Kaepernick, who turned 32-years-old on November 3, reportedly celebrated his birthday feeding food and supplies to the homeless in Oakland, California. 10 months ago Up in arms: Elway still searching for Broncos’ quarterback COMMENT 10 months ago Guaranteed: Joe Namath voted NFL’s greatest character FOLLOW US Kaepernick has not played ever since he opted out of his agreement with San Francisco 49ers in 2016. It was the same year when the NFL star started a protest against the police brutality in the country. WE RECOMMEND Great to build and put in work with you brother! ✊🏾🖤 https://t.co/rJWrEBQilE— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 4, 2019center_img LIVE TV WATCH US LIVE Akhil Nambiar Colin Kaepernick, who turned 32 on November 3, 2019, reportedly celebrated his birthday feeding the homeless in Oakland, California. According to a leading news portal, former National Football League (NFL) quarterback showed up with a food truck for the people living in Oakland’s Tent City. It is a large homeless encampment, Kaepernick paid for every person and who was in need of a meal.Also Read | Prosecutors Retry Ex-NFL Player Winslow On Rape Charges 10 months ago Prosecutors retry ex-NFL player Winslow on rape charges Also Read | NFL Owners Agree To Invest In Hall Of Fame ProjectThe former NFL player showed up at the encampment along with his girlfriend Nessa and walked around distributing backpacks filled with snacks, air quality masks, shampoo, socks and other important resources. He made this good deed possible with his own foundation called Know Your Rights Camp. This isn’t the first time where Kaepernick was seen helping people on his birthday. Back in 2016, he had hosted the Know Your Rights Camp event. He brought a lot of black and Latino kids together to teach them about social justice and their rights in that event.Also Read | Up In Arms: Elway Still Searching For Broncos’ Quarterback 10 months ago NFL owners agree to invest in Hall of Fame project First Published: 5th November, 2019 15:49 IST Also Read | Guaranteed: Joe Namath Voted NFL’s Greatest CharacterUrge to playMeanwhile, the NFL star – who has been out of action since a while – had reportedly expressed an active interest in taking up the recently opened vacancies. According to the reports, there are some NFL teams who are in search of successful quarterbacks with the problem of their existing players being injured.Also Read | Pope Francis Mistakenly Tweets Support For NFL’s New Orleans Saints Atlanta we love you! Thank you for sharing your space with us and welcoming @yourrightscamp to your city. Seize your power and share it! ✊🏾#KnowYourRightsCamp pic.twitter.com/IHE6cEr0WZ— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) October 20, 2019last_img read more

GambleAware publishes UK donations as charity plans for critical 2019

first_imgShare Seeking to bring transparency to its current ‘voluntary funding arrangement’, industry charity GambleAware has published details of donations and pledges received by industry stakeholders.Updating the market, GambleAware details that the ‘total amount of money pledged and received during Q1 2018 (April-June) amounted to £2.8 million’.At present, industry incumbents that support GambleAware initiatives are required to contribute annually a minimum of 0.1% of their annual Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) directly to the charity.Incumbents with an annual gross gambling revenue of less than £250,000 per annum are asked to donate a minimum of £250.The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), estimates that GambleAware requires ‘a minimum of £10 million’ in voluntary funds to deliver its 2018/19 objectives.Nevertheless, in its July update, GambleAware governance outlined that the charity would be significantly increasing its annual spending, outlining costs of £32 million over a two-year period.Combatting gambling-related harms, the charity seeks to accelerate the development of its research, education and treatment programs and resources across the UK.In its directive, GambleAware governance is set to concentrate funding within research fields (£10m), expanding educational programs (£6m), and improving access to UK-wide treatment facilities (£14m).The UK betting sector awaits the release of GambleAware’s upcoming ‘Safer Gambling Campaign’, announced last June in partnership with new creative agency M&C Saatchi.Aiding its campaign initiatives, GambleAware has developed a ‘marketing advisory panel’, which will independently evaluate the progress and impact of the charity’s UK marketing initiatives and strategy. Share Submit GambleAware: Engage those with lived experience of gambling harms August 28, 2020 Related Articles YGAM focuses on BAME community engagement with CVR link-up August 21, 2020 StumbleUpon Marc Etches to step down as CEO of GambleAware in 2021 August 14, 2020last_img read more