One sign that the recession is slowly coming to an end is the uptick in sales noted by big box stores like Walmart and Target. That’s not the case though for smaller, mom and pop businesses that once lined the streets of the city. They are still struggling to survive, with many eventually giving up, and others reinventing themselves to meet the needs of a different category of customers.

There are many reasons for this, but guilt by association is a major factor. If one store on a block fails, that will inevitably have an impact on the other stores as well. There are fewer passersby, and that means lower visibility and fewer walk-ins as well. But slower traffic also means that safety is affected as well. Police tend to patrol less, and shuttered shells of once-thriving businesses often get taken over by transients and vandals, who scare off shoppers.

This is having an impact on the owners of small businesses, who lack the resources of big box stores to back them up during hard times. A survey conducted by Small Business California found that one out of every five small business owners they spoke to (2,700 were surveyed in total) did not believe that their businesses would still be around in another three years.  And that would just set off a vicious circle.
Read More at The Mercury News.