“I’ve been here since 1998. It’s been twenty-one years. When I came here, I was the only business here. It was just me, Chevron and Kroger. I remember when I first opened up my business, the police used to be worried about me. At that time, there was a lot of crime over here. If I had a problem with the building and needed repairs, people would ask for my address and I would tell them 2015 West Broadway and they would tell me that they didn’t come this far. That was just twenty years ago, not even a long time ago.
People were scared to come to the West End. Now, people are coming back to live here and the crime is lower. People are wanting to spend money and support black businesses. I think that if they do that, it’ll help us and the community. We live here and we’ll spend money here.
It’s a lot of changes. When I first came here, it was rough and there was a lot of crime and lot of stuff. Things have changed. None of these buildings were here. It was a lot of empty lots. So, it’s a lot of changes. I think with the new developments, they could do more. Even with the little things that they do, it would make some big changes.
For example, they were supposed to put Walmart over here and people fought. Walmart would have been good. It could have brought a lot of people from a ten mile radius. With Passport, I don’t know. I hope they hire people from the West End. They said that they were gong to hire five hundred people. I hope it’s not going to be a bunch of people, from outside, that will just come to work and go home. We’re not going to benefit from it. The YMCA will be good for the neighborhood. The director said that he’s going to make sure that every kid knows how to swim, so that’s good. That’ll be a positive thing for the neighborhood.
I think the West End is headed in a good direction, if they let us do more. We have to come together and do more instead of complaining. For example, they complained about Walmart. Now, Walmart’s gone and what do we get? We get nothing. Walmart being here, would have kept people from going so far. It would have been competition for Kroger and they would have to drop their prices. But they didn’t look at it that way. Also, they were going to hire two to three hundred people in the neighborhood. Also, people wouldn’t have to travel to ten miles. The closest one is where? Cane Run? Indiana? Instead people complained about a parking lot. Would you rather park five hundred feet or drive ten miles? It just doesn't make any sense. We gotta stop the complaining.” - Babinta Kiota, owner of Broadway Fashion & Decor , pictured with Mohamed, Russell