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Business Growth in Downtown is Using Diverse Team Work

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, June 30, 2008, at 12:51PM
Woman Empowerment Ed Fuentes

Amelia Ransom Letcher, Carol Schatz, President, Carla J. Christofferson, and Katherine E Goodman at the Turning Point Urban Business Summit held last week.

Amelia Ransom Letcher, Divisional Vice President, Corporate Diversity Affairs Nordstroms with Carol Schatz, President, CEO Los Angeles Downtown Center Business Improvement District, after honoring L.A. Sparks owners Carla J. Christofferson and Katherine E Goodman at the "Living History Makers Awards" during the Turning Point Urban Business Summit and Expo 2008 held at the Sheraton Hotel. The two-day conference targets multi-ethnic and woman owned business owners ended Friday evening with a Salute to the Speakers of the California Assembly.

Speaking at Friday's luncheon, Schatz emphasized that Downtown’s growth can continue by business owners filling gaps left by larger franchises not willing to enter the Downtown market. For many Downtowners, smaller businesses are preferred.

With women owned businesses highlighted, Downtown Los Angeles was a suitable location for the conference in many ways. Downtown's growth exemplifies how entrepreneurs can help change a city in small steps by serving their neighborhoods.

Creating urban opportunity was a reason Turning Point Magazine began the conference 10 years ago as the African-American Business Summit in response to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. It has since grown and now teaches attendees, among other things, how African-American, Asian, and Latinos will be 80% of the U.S. population––and how women owned half of the businesses in the U.S in 2007.

Hearing that, you think of how Wood Spoon, Metropolis Books, Banquette, Weenez, L.A. Gourmet Bakery, Café Metropol, Blue Dahlia Café and Wine Bar, and Stella Dottir Fashions, have made their parts of Downtown much more livable. With the anticipated The Nickel Cafe that has some Downtowners investing in it, and the about-to-open Phyllis Stein Art Gallery getting some help from VEDC, the growth continues.

As for the conference, the real buzz was L.A. SPARKS and WBA MVP Lisa Leslie appearing to sign her new book “Don’t Let The Lipstick Fool You: The Making of a Champion.” The SPARKS game plan could be considered a business model. While Leslie and new SPARKS player Candance Parker are fully capable to dunk, they know it takes assists to win over a long season.

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