INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A popular, well-connected Inglewood family has expanded their real estate holdings in Inglewood.
The Martin family purchased a shuttered flower shop that used to be a Pizza Hut and the accompanying parking lot at the corner of Manchester Blvd. and 11th Ave. from Lou-Ann Investments (Edward Gauthier) for $1.6 million each in May 2021.
The transaction was brought to 2UrbanGirls attention by the owners of Red Tag Discount who operate next door at 3215 W. Manchester Blvd.
“We are closing in two weeks because SoFi Stadium bought our building,” said the owner.
A chain link fence was erected around the parcels purchased by the Martin’s within the last two weeks. Property records don’t indicate a change of ownership of any of the three parcels, yet, which leads this author to speculate that the Martin’s have either gone into business with Stan Kroenke or quickly bought the property to sell it to him.
The Martin family are the owners of popular restaurants Fiesta Martin’s, Martin’s, Taco Time, and a juice bar. They also purchased the building that used to house Ike Turner’s recording studio.
The family business is well-connected to City Hall and counts Councilman Alex Padilla and Mayor James Butts as allies. Padilla hosted a campaign event for his reelection at their newest location, where Los Poncho’s used to be, and the restaurant made thousands of dollars by providing food to law enforcement professionals during Super Bowl 56 based on invoices approved by the City.
The family also intends to extend their footprint into the retail district being built at Hollywood Park. The City recently approved the Martins to operate a pedicab company that operates during NFL events that ferries fans to SoFi Stadium from Morningside High School.
In comparison, a large number of Black-owned businesses are renters in Inglewood and are either being forced out due to increased rent or lack of business. Whenever Channel 7 decides to tout how small businesses are booming because of events at SoFi Stadium the reporter only speaks to two businesses: Dulan’s or Sweet Red Peach.
Both businesses already have lines out their doors any given day of the week because they sell great food and pastries not because the NFL came to town. Their following existed long Stan Kroenke, Dean Spanos, and Steve Ballmer came to town.
They aren’t benefitting from city hall connections to expand into ownership. Their current landlords allowed them to expand into adjacent space, but with the right offer, they could be forced to move.
Neither the City nor the Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce provides any small business connections to resources to invest in commercial real estate ownership as the city continues to tout the ‘Inglewood Renaissance. Bank of America has a $25,000 grant program for women to put a down payment on commercial real estate in neighboring Los Angeles.
The City used ZERO money from the $31 million in ARPA federal funds to assist small businesses and you would think the Chamber CEO Halimah Ginyard would be making the case every chance she got.
Instead, the Black-owned businesses have to rely on either GoFundMe or a landlord maintaining low rents as they await a financial windfall if Metro purchases their property if they are in the Right of Way for the proposed Inglewood Transit Connector.
In no way is this author suggesting the Martin family isn’t benefiting from their hard work. I remember when I first encountered them via a booth at the annual carnival held at St. John’s Chrysostom. It was the year the City approved them to sell beer and wine on-site. What I am suggesting is the Black mayor should be making sure that Black businesses continue to thrive and remain in Inglewood.
But in business, it’s not always what you know, its who you know.
For comparison, look at what Butts has done to help Snoop Dogg.
At the opening of the new Funko store, which is across the street from SoFi Stadium, Snoop shared he spoke with the mayor before the multi-billion dollar stadium was built. The mayor discussed what the City’s plans were and because he already had strong connections to the City through his youth football organization, and having the compound on the north end of town, expansion was brought to him via City Hall on a silver platter. Snoop will most likely end up owning the shopping plaza as he already has three businesses in it.
“Snoop has Boardwalk and Park Place,” said Butts. Do the Martins occupy the rest of the Monopoly board?
All of the Black-owned businesses along Market Street are renters. All of the Black-owned businesses along Prairie between Manchester and Century are renters. Again, they will all be forced to relocate should the ITC project become fully funded and if they fall in the designated areas needed for construction. I can’t reiterate this enough. They are making these plans behind your back.
In the meantime, ownership allows the Martin’s and potentially Snoop Dogg, to continue to grow with the City while not-so-connected Black businesses watch from a distance.