Jesse Gary, Sean Browning
A down economy isn't down for everyone. New businesses are opening up in a Highland Park shopping district, bucking the national downward trend.
Wall Street may be reeling, but on LA's “New York” Boulevard, things are looking up.
Dozens of new businesses have brought a new sense of swag to the six block stretch since the Great Recession started.
Kazumi Mathieu and her mom opened Urchin vintage clothing 18 months ago in the Highland Park shopping district.
"We didn't really expect to make it this far,” said Mathieu. “But we decided to try it out."
Ironically, the recession may be a reason for their success.
As previous area businesses moved, Urchin and others moved in, with sweet lease deals. Half the block has trendy eateries, bars, and the anchor coffee shop at the corner. As a result, foot traffic is up.
"If we were four blocks in either direction, it would have been hard core,” said Mathieu. “It would have been a totally different landscape."
"People wanted to get those low cost leases at this time. And secondly, people are looking to get cheaper items," said Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the 14th district, which includes York Boulevard.
Huizar told NBC4 a $100,000 grant is being used as seed money for locals to identify proposed improvements to York Boulevard.
"We're creating more open spaces for people to gather and preserve the history of the place… its authenticity. But at the same time, find federal dollars to invest to make that area more pedestrian friendly," said Huizar.
It hasn't always been easy, but even the local optometrist of two years clearly sees the "new" York may survive and thrive amid a murky national economy.
"I don't worry about anything. I just do the best I can. That's it. Yeah the economy is not in the best shape and it's probably not going to be in the best shape. But you just do what you can," said Dr. Elliot Cain, a local optometrist.