Comparison of Businesses
By: Shiva Delpazir

On February 18th my group visited many different businesses. This idea was inspired by the presentations done that morning by Jeffrey Garza Walker, head of the South Mountain Village Chamber of Commerce and Teclo Garcia, editor of Friday !Extra! section of the Arizona Republic. Teclo gave discussions about how he supports different businesses that come into South Mountain and talked about the Mexican culture that comes with every Latino owned business that develops in South Mountain. Jeffrey Walker expanded on the Latino culture in terms of the murals, developments, and the latest events occurring in South Phoenix. Neil Smith expands on this concept of gentrification among businesses in his article titled The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. He implies that the poor and middle class neighborhoods are basically watching their city be refurbished or rebuilt around them. When this happens, the city experiences an economic shift, followed a political shift which effects the current residents and business owners of these developing cities.
             Out of curiosity, to observe evidence of this Latino influence, our group toured South Mountain Village and investigated several of the businesses. It was very interesting to see the amount of culture and creativity that some of the Latino owned businesses had.  We visited a    family owned barbershop, boutique, and a few restaurants to compare the ones in South Phoenix to those which are located in the upper parts of Phoenix.  There was a noticeable difference due to the fact that a lot of the businesses had their own signs painted outside, the people spoke Spanish, and Latino music flooded the shopping areas. There really wasn’t any uniform to any of the businesses that were family owned, they were open to everyone and every time I entered one of the shops, I found myself being warmly greeted. I remember visiting a little boutique along Central Avenue where blankets were sold. When I entered, I heard Spanish music, I saw a shop owner holding her baby, and she greeted us warmly. The shop was set up very different; it was unorganized yet interesting to walk through at the same time. A lot of the other businesses were the same way.
             It was also very interesting to see the different businesses and how they were combined, such as the Barbershop and Car wash, where you not only can get your car washed, but your hair cut while you are waiting. Teclo had explained how newer businesses that are coming in are trying to basically take the Mexican culture out of the city by replacing it with a more traditional form of shops, such as the Ranch Market, or by purely eliminating the culture all together by adding franchises such as Wal-Mart. 



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