Monday, June 9, 2014

The Last Stand

Don’t ask Karl Johansson about his favorite magazine or newspaper. Though he has been working at the Village Center Newsstand for more than two decades, he rarely reads the products he sells. For him, the job is more about forming connections with the community. “If you stand in people’s path every day for 20 years, you hear a lot of stories,” Johansson said, leaning against the worn counter of his stand. “I get to be an important part of people’s lives, whether it is just a friendly face or a deeper support. That is the most rewarding.” His newsstand on the corner of Kinross Avenue and Westwood Boulevard is wrapped around a decades-old tree and sandwiched between two empty storefronts. Over the past few years, the stand’s regular client base has steadily declined. More recently, a dramatic drop in profits coupled with rising rent has made it difficult for Johanssonto keep the stand afloat.

Johansson will close the newsstand – the last in the Village – by the end of the month.

Emptying storefronts in Westwood and a media shift to focus on more online content contributed to the newsstand’s rapid decline of sales, Johansson said. He added that he thinks students had fewer reasons to venture into the Village as UCLA expanded and offered more services on campus...*

Full story from the Daily Bruin at

*Next thing you know, UCLA will build a Grand Hotel!  Seriously, although the university says it wants a prosperous Westwood without all the empty stores, it can't have it and - at the same time - have the campus become a self-contained, indirectly subsidized, food, lodging, and shopping center. 

No comments: