This morning I stood in the parking lot with other community members to attend the official ribbon cutting ceremony of the brand new Burlington Coat Factory. There were speeches made, hands shaken, photographs taken, and much celebrating all around. And then, after more than a year of waiting — there was shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. By the time I left a little after 10 am, the parking lot was completely full, all the way to Compton Boulevard.
As I was driving away, I considered how the surge in economic development has affected my family alone. I realized that just this week:
I’ve gotten a new pair of earrings at Burlington.
I’ve filled prescriptions and bought household goods at Target.
I’ve shopped for groceries at Fresh and Easy.
I’ve enjoyed coffee at Starbucks.
I’ve gone to the gym to work off the Starbucks!
I’ve had lunch with my husband at Panda Express.
We’ve purchased shoes for our kids at Payless.
That’s pretty exciting when I consider that none of those businesses were open a little more than three years ago! (Yes, there were Payless Shoe Stores, but not the one where I shopped.)
I remember years and years of driving 20 minutes out of this community to get to any decent stores. I remember taking teenagers I was mentoring to Cerritos, to teach them how to get bargains at a store like Ross, a store they’d never heard of. I remember trying in vain to find one piece of undamaged poster board in the disaster that was called Kmart, and sadly, feeling relieved with the rest of the community when the store finally gave up and closed.
I also remembering waiting with anticipation as the new Target was built. I remember getting the call from my husband that it had opened early, the excitement my kids felt as we walked the aisles the first time, and the pride on all the new employees’ faces. I remember seeing the employee name badges at Best Buy that declared proudly, “I’m from Compton!” I remember reading in the paper about the Compton’s Fresh and Easy being the highest grossing store in the state.
My children are growing up in an era when we can do most of our shopping right here at home. When we shop here, we shop in clean, well-organized stores. Employees ask if we are finding everything we need. People smile.
My children are growing up in a different Compton. It’s not a perfect Compton — we still have plenty of “opportunities” for growth. But it’s not the Compton it once was.
And today, I’m taking the time to appreciate the progress.
How about you? How has your life changed because of the new economic growth in Compton? Please leave your comments!