I went to a Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee meeting recently and I’m super stoked about getting involved in the community, here. A lot of attendees were first timers, and we took turns stating our names, locations, and why we were at the meeting, etc etc. Everyone spoke about how they loved Silver Lake’s diversity, local spirit, individuality (I can keep listing), but one guy said it perfectly in one statement. He said he loved that Silver Lake wasn’t mall-ified.
We see this mallification everywhere we look. Lots of places on the West Side, Orange County, and lest you think this is just a USofA problem, even abroad. On a recent roadtrip through southern England, I noticed nearly every “Main Street” hosted the same national chains.
To get to my point, C. J. Gronner recently blogged about the currentmallification of Abbot Kinney in Venice.
If you had left Venice even a year ago, and returned today to stroll down Abbot Kinney, you might think you got lost and wound up on Robertson or Montana. If you ever cared about Venice being cool and unique and outside of the mainstream, you would certainly be aghast to find corporate-owned chain stores - once thought to be forbidden - open for business for people that like Mall clothes.
Being new to the L.A. scene, I’m only acquainted with the current Abbot Kinney. That’s not to say that I didn’t have preconceptions about the funky, weird Venice community I would find. Even in Texas, Venice Beach has a reputation. On my first visit, I was a little shocked to see Abbot Kinney behind the boardwalk. I’m not going to get all doomsday about it, I just wasn’t expecting the bright white, shiny corporate row, where the only place I can afford to buy lunch is Abbot’s Habit cafe and their sister pizza joint.
All this to say, I hope Silver Lake is able to maintain its home-grown, locally owned businesses and continues to choke out larger corporations. Not because they are evil or terrible, or whatever, but because I like Silver Lake just the way it is. And I’m not alone.