Like many small retail shops, this Leimert Park store relies on the community’s help to keep their doors open.
Zambezi Bazaar owner Jackie Ryan with her daughter.
By Jason Lewis
Small retail businesses in the Leimert Park Village have experienced difficulties from time to time, but they have found ways to continue serving the community with Afrocentric merchandise.
Jackie Ryan, owner of Zambezi Bazaar in Leimert Park, has run her shop that sells cultural merchandise for 25 years. But with many people turning to the Internet to shop, mom and pop business that offer unique items that specifically target the community that they are in are now struggling to stay in business.
Recently, Ryan reluctantly had to host an “Ole’ Fashioned Rent Party” to keep her doors open.
“It’s a difficult struggle, historically and economically, for people who want to make a profit from a business in Leimert Park,” she said.
Business picked up for that day, but for the stores in Leimert Park to stay in open, they will need a constant flow customers from South Los Angeles communities.
Ryan has been an advocate for South Los Angeles for decades. She has supported communities with her involvement with neighborhood councils, where she has worked with many local residents and politicians to ensure that African Americans flourish. She has given her time and efforts to the community, and now she needs the community to support her business.
Zambezi Bazaar is unique compared to other retail stores of its kind because it has items that are geared toward African Americans. Many retail chain stores sell art pieces, calendars, greeting cards, literature, jewelry, and mens and women clothes, but not the type of items that Ryan has on her shelves.
“We sell items that reflect the African-American image and the African-American spirit,” she said. “We stick to what’s important to us: what we look like, what we do, what our hair looks like, where we go to church.”
Various types of gifts and decoration for the home or office that can give more of a cultural feeling can be found at Zambezi Bazaar.
Ryan takes great joy in helping her customers find items that would be hard to find elsewhere, and her customers appreciates her store.
“When people come in here, they thank me for having the store, and they tell me how much they want to shop here,” she said. “I have the most wonderful customers that you can ever imagine, that shop here. The customers built this business.”
Zambezi Bazaar is located at 3347 W. 43rd St. They are open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Contact them at (323) 299-6383, visit their website at www.zambezibazaar.com and find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Zambezi Bazaar sells art pieces, calendars, greeting cards, literature, jewelry, and mens and women clothing that “reflects the African American image.”
Looking to start a small business? Contact Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation.