When you ride the tube in London, you can pick up a free copy of the Evening Standard. You’ll usually find it on a, open seat. This headline stuck out at me: Cereal Killer Cafe owners: What it’s like to be the most hated men in London. I call it #OccupyCereal.
First off, cereal is good. It’s tasty. I endorse cereal. I stand with cereal.
The gist of their story is that a group of protesters sprayed red paint and wrote SCUM on their storefront on Brick Lane in the now upscale Shoreditch area. Apparently, the mob don’t approve of gentrification and hipsters running nitch businesses when there’s a lack of affordable housing. Wait until they find out about the upscale mayonnaise store in Brooklyn. The next, the movement turned their anger to the Jack the Ripper museum.
It’s a familiar grievance today where once rundown neighborhoods are now thriving communities that forces residents out due to rising rents. This goes back to centuries — it’s called progress. I’m sure in Jerusalem where Jesus walked, merchants set up markets to sell stoneware and upset local residents. This happens all over the world — NYC, Tokyo, Berlin, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Beijing.
Unfortunately, real estate and city planning is not a democracy. We can’t vote on what businesses can set-up where. In New York, there was the “ground zero mosque”. A gentleman from Soho Properties who had the money bought a Burlington Coat Factory that’s two blocks from World Trade Center. He attended to create a Islamic cultural center. This caused a huge uproar that eventually died out. End result, it’s going to be turned into upscale condos that you can’t afford. Welcome to the free market.
“Attacking people who want to better themselves is absurd. If you try to start a revolution by hitting small businesses all you will have left is huge chains and money going to corporations that don’t pay their taxes, ” said owner Alan Keery. Exactly. He has the money and inspiration, he saw business potential in the area and wants to be successful. He’s not Donald Trump, he’s you and me.
The caveat I would bring up to both sides of the argument — there was a cereal-based cafe in Philadelphia that got a lot of attention called Cereality. “$5 for a bowl of cereal!” EVERYBODY PANIC. It eventually franchised, but most have closed down including the Philly location. Most small business end up closing within a year, but good luck to Cereal Killer.