EAST LOS ANGELES — Many of Nike’s flashy stores are located in high-end shopping centers or affluent communities, like The Grove in the Fairfax District, Fashion Island in Newport Beach as well as a Niketown in Beverly Hills. But this week, the athletic footwear and apparel company is opening a store far from those ritzy locales. On Thursday, Nike will hold a grand opening for a new “community store” on Whittier Boulevard in East L.A.
Located amid the mostly mom-and-pop shops and restaurants that cater to Latino shoppers, the Nike store stretches for nearly a block along Whittier Boulevard at McDonnell Avenue. The orange Nike swoosh logo is mounted on the gray, metal facade within sight of the Whittier Boulevard arch.
What is Nike doing on Whittier Boulevard in predominately Latino and low-income East Los Angeles?
“We know our consumers, and they live all over L.A. County,” said a company spokeswoman. “It was important for us to reach them where they are.”
In addition to selling athletic shoes and apparel, Nike officials said they also want their East L.A. community store to establish strong ties to the area through local hiring initiatives, volunteer efforts, local grant and athletic programs.
It will be a while before Nike’s impact on Whittier Boulevard will be known. The large store could serve as a major anchor, drawing more foot traffic and investment into the shopping strip. But it might also pose competitive challenges for other retailers, including Skechers and WSS, both of which operate large athletic shoe and apparel stores on Whittier Boulevard.
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