Jefferson Avenue Businessmen are some the most resilient and patient entrepreneurs in the city. Ignored for years, those businesses owners who bravely ventured into planting their dreams there - continue to struggle to maintain and grow their establishments. And new businesses, like Solo Eats on the corner of Jefferson and East Ferry, have recently invested in the area.
They are all hopeful that the current focus on the once bustling main strip will soon bring positive results. But they are keenly aware that not all “progress” is good progress.
Case in point. News that a convenient store would soon be opening at 1390 Jefferson Avenue has given cause for concern. A petition was circulated by business owners and some 350 signatures were gathered and delivered to Masten Council Member Ulysses O. Wingo ‘s CityHall office opposing the store’s location. It reads in part:
“Currently there are a substantial number of convenience stores already located in the area and the addition of another store at 1390 Jefferson Avenue will encourage loitering, which can only lead to more crime and will hurt our community. For this reason this petition has been established to prohibit the opening….”
The businessmen – of various ethnicities - decided to go public with their struggle because after weeks of trying to meet and talk to Mr. Wingo they have been unsuccessful. He has yet to even return any phone calls, said Ahmed Salah of Mandella’s Market & Citgo Gas. “More than 25 people have called his office in the last two weeks,” noted Mr. Salah.
It’s as if nobody is listening. The only thing they’ve heard indirectly from his office is that their petition to stop the opening is “too late.” But as far as these entrepreneurs are concerned, it’s never too late. And they want answers. They feel that they have been slighted and not given the opportunity to even voice their opinion before a final decision was made.
Mr. Wingo’s job, they say, is to represent and respect the people who elected him to that position. Or face their disapproval on election day. There are so many other types of businesses Jefferson Avenue needs, they pointed out. Another convenience store is not one; especially in light of their concerns.
They believe they at least deserve a reply and conversation about a decision that may adversely effect their livelihood.