Neighborhood Businesses get a Refresh

MATT Supports LA-Más in Beautifying Watts Community Corridor

​MATT Construction supported LA-Más last month in a creative effort to revitalize businesses along the Wilmington Avenue Corridor in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The design process was collaborative and iterative. The group worked with interested business owners and volunteer partners, ACE Center, LA Trade Tech, and graphic designer, Marjory Garrison. The color palette was reflective of the existing colors on the corridor. In fact, half of the businesses kept their original color. The rest of the corridor was painted a color that fit into a palette scheme and reflected personal references of business owners.

The LA Más team with the support of YO! Watts Summer Fellows managed the installation and implementation of the project.

Over the past four months, the LA-Más team developed relationships with all businesses on the Wilmington Ave corridor and reached out to the greater Watts community. A total of 10 small businesses signed up to participate in this project, which included:

1)  Fresh coat of paint on the building façade

2)  Hand painted signage of the name of the business

3)  Custom-designed graphic icons representing business services

4)  Pedestrian level ambient lighting

5)  Student-built street furniture (only half of the businesses participated)

The cost for businesses was minimal – only $75 to help subsidize the cost of materials and a gesture of commitment.  MATT Construction and other partners helped to fund the permits and other costs associated with the project, and volunteers kicked in to provide the design and labor.

Below are two Before & After examples of facades that were transformed as a part of the program:

BEFORE - photo of Lee's Market
BEFORE – photo of LEE’s Market
LEE's Market Refresh Concept
LEE’s Market Refresh Concept
LEE's Market after the refresh
LEE’s Market after the refresh
Narcisco's Market BEFORE
Narcisco’s Market & Cyclery BEFORE
Narcisco's Market & Cyclery AFTER
Narcisco’s Market & Cyclery AFTER

Throughout the process, LA-Más provided business owners with various opportunities for feedback. Overall, the goal was to ensure that business needs were met through this project. To meet the City requirements for permitting, the group engaged property owners and secured on-site wall sign permits on their behalf. In addition, LA-Más provided the broader community an opportunity for feedback at an Open House in June. Today we celebrate the improvements, but also the businesses and their dynamic variety of goods and services.

The LA-Más mission is to look critically at systemic problems in the LA area and provide solutions based on research and community engagement. Through this and other projects, the group hopes to shape the future of equitable city growth.

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