Black History Month: Supporting Local Small Businesses

As we continue to recognize Black History Month by honoring those that have exemplified Black Excellence, this week’s focus is on our commitment to the communities we serve. One way we’ve been taking care of our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic is by providing support to local small businesses. Through our Committed to Serve initiative, the Republic Services Charitable Foundation is funding its long-term nonprofit partners that operate locally and serve local communities and small businesses. 

Spotlight: Rebuilding Together of the City of Angels and Regency West & Ride On Bike Shop

One example of our Committed to Serve partnership is in Los Angeles, CA, where Rebuilding Together affiliate Rebuilding Together of the City of Angels is working with Republic Services to provide essential repairs to a local restaurant and a small bike co-op bike repair shop.

Located in the Leimert Park neighborhood, Regency West has been in the same family since its inception over 40 years ago. When Fred Calloway purchased the building in 1973 to preserve minority ownership, he wanted to provide the community with a local and affordable place to host receptions, memorials and other celebrations. The restaurant and banquet hall are now run by Fred’s son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who open the space for public events three days a week in addition to making the space available for private events. With limitations in place for social gatherings, the family has been unable to offer indoor banquet and event services during the pandemic.

With the support of Republic Services, Rebuilding Together of the City of Angels is adding an entrance to the side of the building and is converting a section of the parking area into an outdoor seating and eating area. Those modifications will allow the business to meet city and county COVID-19 mandates and improve flow in and out of the building, which will also improve fire safety. The family then plans to expand its activities and provide a place for seniors in the community to use Regency West as a recreational center.

Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-Op is a full-service co-op bicycle shop offering repairs, sales and rentals. The collective provides tools, space, and a community space to facilitate bike repair education for local residents. Ride On! also conducts workshops on bike safety and advocates for bicycle infrastructure equity in South-West Los Angeles. They created a space where community members can get their bikes serviced or learn basic repairs and connect with the cycling community in a fun, safe environment. Ride On! was founded by Adé E. Neff, a social entrepreneur who conducts monthly bike rides and recently worked on a campaign to improve streets and educate residents on traffic calming and street safety. Adé’s work is centered in equity and environmental justice. Ride On! works on a small profit margin and faces challenges to make business improvements.

Through a Committed to Serve grant, Rebuilding Together of the City of Angels is working to make repairs that will allow the shop to continue to serve the community during the pandemic and be better prepared to tackle the needs of residents. Improvements to the shop include moving a bathroom to the rear of the building, opening up the showroom to add 250-300 square feet of space and widen the walkway by installing bike racks to the wall. The Rebuilding Together affiliate will also repair and replace light and the air conditioning system and will repair, patch and paint the stucco on the front of the building.

Taking care of our communities means also supporting the local businesses that are facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and helping them through these difficult times. In partnership with Rebuilding Together, we can provide support to ensure those businesses are there to continue to serve our communities for years to come.

Both of these minority owned small businesses are located in Leimert Park is a neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles in the South L.A. region of Los Angeles County. Since the 1960s, Leimert Park has served as the hub of African American arts and culture. Demographically speaking the resident mix is 80% black, 4% Asian, 12% Latino, 4% White.

Click here to learn more about our national nonprofit partner, Rebuilding Together, and the critical work they do in minority communities throughout the country.