America’s real estate system pushes rents up and people out
For many small businesses, a landlord’s decision to sell up is the end of the story, another dream displaced by the pressures of speculation and gentrification. Not so for Hasta Muerte, an independent coffee shop in Oakland, California.
After a year spent transforming the former gambling spot into a vibrant community space, complete with giant murals covering the walls outside, Hasta Muerte’s seven co-owners opened their doors to the largely Latinx Fruitvale neighborhood last November.
The shop ― which briefly tasted controversy when it refused to serve a uniformed police officer in February ― didn’t only provide a new coffee spot for local residents, it also hosted film screenings, political discussions and pop-ups for other neighborhood entrepreneurs.