In a previous issue (January 28, 2021), we published The State of Black Pasadena with regard to Home Ownership. Here, I will focus on the lack of Black Businesses and the need for more. The story of Black Pasadena is the tale of two’s and three’s. Some are listed here. Our numbers have been reduced recently due to family changes, Real Estate sales, and Covid.
We have two black mortuaries, Woods Valentine Mortuary, and Arnold Funeral Home; two black-owned restaurants Roscoe’s Chicken ‘N Waffles, and Perry’s Joint. We have a number of churches, Barbershops, and Beauty salons, Lawyers, Insurance, and Real Estate agents. We also have one flower shop, Pampered Lady Flowers. Also, there are others who do not advertise to you through this paper.
On a positive note, changes offer us opportunities for new beginnings. We need more Black businesses. How can we get back to an era where we had Pharmacies, Grocery stores, Liquor Stores, Clothing and Furniture stores, Cleaners, and black-owned car dealerships. Quite simply, we can join together, incorporate with family members, or simply talk to someone with a business about transitioning to the next generation. For instance, Woods Valentine Mortuary has been in business in Pasadena for over ninety years. It started with a shine stand and has grown to provide its trademark Funeral Services Insurance Services and other services, with generations of family members.
As a city, Pasadena provides a variety of services including Educational Services, Floral Services for individuals, Church services, funerals, wedding, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays. There are Legal services, Health care services, Medical services, and Dental Services, auto repair, Lawn care, Electrical Services, Fencing, Contracting, plasterers, brick masons, and other craftsmen.
This town has Black Accountants like my CPA, Norm Lewis, Computer Scientists and Engineers, as we are the home city of Cal Tech and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Kaiser Permanente is offering a free Medical College for budding doctors and Pasadena City College is offering free tuition for a two-year education.
Pasadena is a town known for its’ Rose Bowl game and Parade. Blacks serve on the Planning Committee has had one President of the Rose Bowl, Gerald Freeny (2019), and a number of Black Queens and Princesses, this year being no exception.
How do we make it better? I recently discovered a young black male serving as a Dental Therapist. It gave my heart a lift because that was a surprise to me to see, especially at a non-black dentist’s office. Seeing that therapist reminded me that there were a lot of professions we as blacks in small towns were not looking at as great jobs.
Comparing other cities outside Pasadena, it was good to see the new President of MSNBC is a black woman. She is Rashida Jones and was the keynote speaker at Hampton University graduation this year. This sets a path for future graduates to follow. Other lesser talked about businesses and services are Hospitality Management, Sales and Marketing, and the relatively new Environmental Sciences.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Local job seekers should check out the new Home Depot located on East Walnut in Pasadena, across the street from McDonald’s Restaurant. There will be thousands of jobs there including entry-level jobs. If you check them out and there seems to some discriminatory hiring going on, say something to your local pastor or Lawyer. I’ve heard that Home Depot owners are Donald T. supporters and boycotts were being called against them.
The Grocery Store at Fair Oaks and Ventura has closed, seems to me that this is a business opportunity someone could grab ten or twenty investors and check out. What would it take to open it under new ownership?
It is important for young people to pick a career as soon as possible so they can strive for a goal. To that end, on the horizon, a booklet on Careers will soon be available. Contributors to the booklet include Del Yarbrough, former Principal of Eliot Jr. High School, and Dr. Pamela Powell, former Superintendent of Inglewood School District and Superintendent of Oklahoma School District; and also Lorenzo Griffin, entrepreneur and founder of La Ran Hair Care Products. Watch the Journal for information on how to obtain a copy.