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Ever wondered why some neighborhoods seem to have a ton of thrift stores, while others have zero? According to the LA Business Journal, an old zoning code revision from 1936 prevents thrift stores from setting up shop in much of unincorporated county territory—more than 2,600 square miles of LA.
The article states: "At that time, during the decade of the Great Depression, secondhand stores had spread rapidly in Los Angeles and throughout the country...In those days, secondhand stores often featured big bins full of donated or discarded items that people rummaged through. And they attracted the unemployed and homeless for miles around. The stores were seen as undesirable as pawnshops."
Of course, thanks to a number of factors—the popularity of vintage and the economic recession among them—that's no longer the case. People from all walks of life shop thrift in LA. Still, Goodwill and fellow nonprofit Out of the Closet have been blocked from opening locations in neighborhoods like East LA, Marina Del Rey, Stevenson Ranch and Willowbrook due to the zoning code. Goodwill execs have turned to County Supervisor Don Knabe to try to amend the ordinance. Knabe's subsequent proposal was accepted this month, and pending final approval, could go into effect as early as this spring.
· Savings Grace [LA Business Journal, sub req]