Jackson Commons has been keeping busy, organizing a community dinner at Promenade 23’s East African Imports and profiling small business owners tucked away in sometimes hard-to-find or overlooked spaces in the shopping center and along Jackson Street.
Recently, Jackson Commons’ Knox Gardner spoke with Karen Davis, owner of Cellular North West, which sells credit-check-free mobile phones. She expressed hopes and concerns about changes to the neighborhood and how current business owners may or may not be able to afford to stay:
This spot must be challenging though?
You know our business is growing here, but growing slow. The good rental properties are too high to afford, particularly when you’re starting your business. African-American business are disappearing. We believe a rebuild of the property would be awesome but are really concerned about being displaced! We’re here covering our bills, but not making profit. How are we going to be able to continue business during some kind of construction here? Will we be able to afford a lease at any new Promenade 23?
What do you think needs to happen?
We’re really proud to offer a product and services the community deserves. But to continue we need more customers. We’re all for building improvements to draw new customers to Jackson. We could really use a neighborhood newsletter or handouts that highlights all the stores and their deals and specials for the month. We might even have some advertising on TV or radio as a shopping center. We need to figure out ways to remind people of the variety of products and services that are here at really reasonable prices.
There’s a basic problem of investment here you know.