Damaris Pimentel, owner of Ultra Beauty Salon, colors Rose Moorachian's hair. November 2014. Credit: Esther Ro
Running a small business is no easy task. Just ask longtime Jamaica Plain entrepreneurs Damaris Pimentel and Patria Valenzuela. The two business pioneers face the challenge of thriving in the midst of a gentrifying neighborhood.
An Egleston Square business owner facing eviction said a tentative deal allowing him and five other entrepreneurs to stay would send a ripple of positive effects beyond Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. The six remaining long-time tenants of 3152-3160 Washington St. — all Latinos — have reached a verbal agreement with new landlord City Realty that may allow them to continue operating in Egleston Square. One of those business people is Santo Anibal Ramirez of Anibal Color Studio. "Though it was just a verbal agreement, that's how all resolutions start.
Santo Anibal Ramirez, owner of Anibal Color Studio, talking about closing his business due to the rise in rent. Credit: "Ain't No One Can Afford This"
People pour their sweat and souls into things they believe are worth their time. Helen "Homefries" Matthews, a Jamaica Plain resident of 13 years, dedicates her time to "Ain't No One Can Afford This," a public video project that will share the stories of JP residents and business owners who have been or are being priced out. I sat with Homefries for about two hours in Café Bartlett Square. As she spoke about her community and its residents, I saw the fervor in her eyes with which she is diving into this video project full-fledged.
A new study confirms what you already know: Jamaica Plain is full of creative types. Demographer Richard Florida argues this "creative class" represents a new kind of class divide. Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and one of the study’s authors, says that class is an inescapable presence in America. And he makes a point that class is embedded in our geography; there’s a clear relationship. “The Divided City: And the Shape of the New Metropolis” intends to help people better understand the relationship between class and geography since it’s an inevitable factor in our way of life, according to the study.