Gentrification is happening at an alarming rate across the country. It is the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. In fact, according to a new study, gentrification is impacting Washington DC more than it is impacting any other state. To date, more than 20,000 African American residents were displaced from low-income neighborhoods from 2000-2013.
Despite this rising trend in gentrification, business owners are being forced to figure out how to survive a gentrified world. While not every business can or will be saved, here are just a few tips you can implement to protect your business in a gentrified world.
Capitalize on the Opportunity
Every business owner facing gentrification has to try to capitalize on this new moment. One way to capitalize is by adapting your business or storefront to the lifestyle and desires of the new residents. Let’s look at Whole Foods for instance. Whole Foods focused on offering amazing health-conscious food to busy cities and made a difference. Despite the impact this made, Whole Foods realized that wasn’t enough. Busy city residents want our health-conscious food quickly and ready for pick up in 1 hour and or delivered to our doorstep. Whole Foods has and will continue to profit significantly from gentrification. Look at your company at its present state and prepare a SWOT Analysis and read the Blue Ocean Strategy to assist with repositioning and rebranding.
Reposition the company
Business owners should reposition the company by any means by making changes in their target, products, services, and etc. I would incorporate products or services that fit the demographics and lifestyle of the residents in your area. Incorporating a front door delivery or 15 min pick up service will garner increased sales due to the service offering.
Rebranding may be required
After you reposition yourself as a small business owner, next you may have to rebrand. Rebranding may cause you to gain and lose a few clients but sticking to the rebranding is vital to the overall success during gentrification. We may have to rebrand everything from our storefront to our menu to gain the attention of our new customers.
Stick to the Changes
As a business owner myself change is difficult. I recommend all business owners that face gentrification to stick to the changes you’re presently making. The city will not revert back so your business has to be unwavering with its intentions to stay competitive and survive during these changes. At this time, you may not be inclined to serve your old customers due to the product or service changes, and that’s fine. They will adjust as the transition continues.
Connect with your community
It may be challenging to stay afloat during the transition and that’s fine because this time is crucial for small businesses to better connect with the community. I would say get out and talk to the community where the changes are occurring so you can mix a bit of the old community culture to the new culture and win.
Honestly, most small black-owned businesses don’t survive gentrification, the tips I mentioned above can take a lot of financial resources most black-owned business can’t bare; however, don’t ever be afraid to spread your wings and move to a new place that will accept your business with open arms.