From Where We Are

The USC Village is a revolving door of storefronts. What do students really want to see?

Since its founding in 2017, many stores have come and gone in the Village. We spoke to students to see what they think is missing from the development.

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The Village has become a hot-spot for students - whether you want to work out, grab a coffee or finally run to the grocery store. But it’s a relatively new establishment, and it’s changed a lot during it’s short history. Stores are shutting down and getting replaced as quickly as they’re popping up. Why is that? Chris Ajose-Nixon has more with the story.

The USC Village opened in August 2017 as the largest development in the history of South Los Angeles, and it boasts some impressive numbers. The project cost $700 million to complete, spans 15 acres, includes 6 buildings with 36 retail spaces and has enough housing for about 2700 students.

Despite those stats, just 13 of the 20 original shops remain open in the Village today.

Two of those originals, CAVA, a Mediterranean version of Chipotle, and Dulce, a cafe known for its matcha lattes are two of the Village’s most popular spots. Located opposite each other on the main village plaza, they are usually lively with long lines. Many of the Village’s other retail spaces haven’t enjoyed the same success.

Among those is Lululemon, which senior Adam Novak said caught him by surprise.

NOVAK: I just ripped my pants, like, literally yesterday playing hacky sack. So I was going to come and check out Lululemon pants, but they just closed the pop up shop.

Boutique and beauty shop Fruit & Candy is the latest Village closure. It shut down earlier this semester.

Students cited health and value for money as reasons why they like eating at Cava, while Dulce’s appeal seems to be its breakfast options and nice cafe environment. But places like Lululemon, Fruit & Candy and countless others haven’t been able to find enough success to stay open, creating a revolving door of new shops at some locations while others remain abandoned for extended periods of time.

So what shops do USC students want to see in the Village? Novak would like a new burger place.

NOVAK: I think if I had an in and out that would that would go pretty hard.

Whether it’s In ‘n’ Out or another place, whichever shop is next to move in will have to work to find its niche in order to break the trend and have long term success in the Village.

For now, if you’re feeling like eating a chicken sandwich, check out Honeybird, and if you want desert, grab a cookie from Insomnia, at least while they’re still here.

For Annenberg Media, I’m Chris Ajose-Nixon.