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York & Fig: How Gentrification Flips a Neighborhood

For 23 years, Frank Cordova owned a little shop on Figueroa Street in Highland Park. It’s one of those shops that sold a bit of everything: Shampoo, car speakers, picture frames, dictionaries, all at a deep discount. Frank had been behind the counter, selling this stuff every day since 1991, when he hired a mariachi band to play at his grand opening.

In all the years since, he’d taken no vacations, no sick days, no days off for anniversaries or birthdays. His motto: “If it’s raining you come to work. If it’s sunny you come to work. If it’s cold you come to work. If it’s windy you come to work. No matter how it is, you always come to work.”

That is, until the day you don’t.

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1. York & Fig: How gentrification flips a neighborhood