Small Businesses Dying In Blue States

Photo by Trnava University on Unsplash

( – California, which has long been considered one of the most expensive states in the United States, has had several reports come out about small businesses and residents struggling especially after the 2020 pandemic. 

On Monday, a Los Angeles Times story reviewed the struggles faced by the small independent bookstore Book Rack, owned by Karen Kropp. The bookstore is currently preparing to close. 

Marisa Gerber, the reporter covering the story, noted that after 40 years, approximately the last half of the bookstore being under Kropp’s ownership was going to be closing this week. As she pointed out, the decline in consumer physical shopping, and the rise in online shopping, have further reduced sales which had already dropped significantly during the pandemic. To keep the store afloat Kropp had ended up cashing out her life insurance policy. 

Kropp would usually say that a “miracle” was coming and that to a bookstore one needed to be a dreamer. However, the 79-year-old owner never got to experience the miracle that she thought would be and was aware that despite not being able to afford it was time for her to retire. As noted in the LA Times report she was going to be living off her monthly Social Security check, which is approximately $1,200 after the deduction of the insurance premiums. 

As the amount she will be making from Social Security is not enough for her to continue living in Southern California she will instead be moving to Albuquerque where her younger sister lives. Because she can make the move she will be clearing out the bookstore. 

The report pointed out that Kropp’s situation has become usual for many small-business owners, especially for those who do not have a relative who is looking to take over the business. This results in them having to face questions relating to their legacy and finances.

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