Why Your Bank Wants No Part of Your Business

Post-Recession Banking Reforms Are Throttling Small Independent Companies

Capital is cheap almost everywhere except for in the heart of the American economy—independent U.S. companies with less than $100 million in revenues.

This is the downside of regulations, enacted after the Great Recession, that made banks safer than ever. Unfortunately, those same regulations also caused banks to focus on mortgages and publicly traded loans, rather than lending to growing private companies. This dislocation may explain why the economic recovery since 2007 has been the most tepid in the past 50 years.

Middle market companies in the U.S., defined as companies …

The Double Rise of an Iconic Cleveland Bakery

The Return of Hough’s Sweet Treats Adds a Dash of Magic to the City

Cleveland is all too famous for a depressing kind of magic: the place can make businesses disappear.

But there are stories of renewal here, too. In 1992, the bakery chain …

The Little Dry Cleaning Shop Around the Corner

When I Took Over My Family's Business on South Central Avenue in 1994 I Had Two Struggles: The Business and South L.A.

When the property owners on historic South Central Avenue (from Washington Boulevard to Vernon Avenue) started one of the first Business Improvement Districts in South L.A., I was surprised to …

How Watts Provided the Foundation for a Family’s Rise in America

Baseball, Small Business, and Legal Status Helped a South L.A. Clan Develop Deep Community Roots

It’s as nostalgic a scene as you can get: young boys gathering in the streets, playing summertime baseball into the night, dreaming of the big leagues. “We would be out …

California’s Massage Industry Explosion

Why Did a Law Intended to Regulate Massage Parlors Have the Opposite Effect?

For the record, I did not intend to get naked for this column.

But the woman at the local massage parlor insisted that I remove my pants and underwear before she …

My Store Just Died

What We Lost When Rocket Video Closed Its Doors

On October 7, Rocket Video, the last great independent video rental store in the city of Los Angeles, closed its doors for good. I was Rocket’s manager. The store had …