Beloved, Gone and Reimagined: Small Business in LA and @LAPL | Los Angeles Public Library
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Beloved, Gone and Reimagined: Small Business in LA and @LAPL

Millie Chong-Dillon, Librarian, Business & Economics Department,

I cried the day my local hardware store closed up shop forever.  Donald Jordon’s Empire Hardware served the Granada Hills community for over 60 years, offering expert advice and stocking every conceivable nail, screw and toilet repair part to Valley customers with aging 50 year old ranch homes.  Every home improvement project in our family was defined by the number of trips to Empire; hallway painting - two tripper for tape and TSP prep or fixing the trellis – 12 tripper for more lag bolts, epoxy putty and Copper-Green®.  We were steady and loyal customers because Empire offered something priceless, a community hub and anchor.  We met neighbors in the plumbing aisle, made new friends waiting at the cash register and found support after the Northridge earthquake.  There are countless small businesses in Southern California that help define their communities.  What is Montrose without the quirky stores on Honolulu Avenue?  How can the Valley survive without pastrami sandwiches at Brent’s Deli in Northridge or the vast specialty paper selection at Continental Art Supplies?  The small businesses on Main Street are a mirror of your neighborhood, with its ethnic mix and vibe of young or old.  Give them your support and they will hopefully return your kindness.  So here’s a heartfelt thank you to Donald, Larry, Tim, Richard and Anita at Empire Hardware for taking care of your neighbors and for giving us hope – yes, most things can be repaired and yes, you can do-it-yourself.

There are over 200,000 small businesses in the City of Los Angeles and for every one that closes, a new business is imagined or opens its door.  The Los Angeles Public Library, Business & Economics Department has books, periodicals, databases and programs that can help Angelenos with their small business dreams.  Let us help you become the next success story.

Selected Small Business Resources in the Business & Economics Department,
Los Angeles Public Library

Books (Circulating)

  • The $100 startup : reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future.  [658 G9575] & e-Book
  • Content rules : how to create killer blogs, podcasts, videos, e-books, webinars (and more) that engage customers and ignite your business.  [658.872 H236 2012] & e-Book
  • Entrepreneur Press Startup series [various titles] print & e-Book.  Titles include Start your own food truck business : cart, trailer, kiosk, standard and gourmet trucks, mobile catering, bustaurant  [658.94795 M667 2015], Start your own child-care service : homebased, commercial, transportation  [658.9136277 S7965-1 2015], Start your own eLearning or training business : your step-by-step guide to success  [658.9137131 K49], and Start your Start your own import/export business : your step-by-step guide to success  [658.7 T948 2014].
  • How to write a business plan.  Nolo Press.  [658.14 M154] various editions
  • Kickstarter handbook.   [658 S8194] & e-Book
  • Legal forms for starting & running a small business.  Nolo Press.  [347.7 S822-2] various editions
  • PopUp republic : how to start your own successful pop-up space, shop, or restaurant.  [658.78 B225] & e-Book
  • QuickBooks [various years] : the missing manual.  [657.018 Q6Bi year] & e-Book
  • Small Business start-up kit for California.  Nolo Press.  [658.09794 P152]
  • Startup equation : a visual guidebook to building, launching and scaling your startup.  [658 F536] & e-Book


Directories (Reference Desk)

  • Business Plans Handbook: A Compilation of Actual Business Plans Developed by Small Businesses Throughout North America.  [R 658 B9793-13] volumes 1-19 or Gale Virtual Reference Library (Reference eBooks), [LAPL Database].  Find digital version of Business Plans Handbook, starting with volume 20, in the Business subject section of this database.
  • Chain Store Guide [various titles].  Series include Directory of Discount Stores & Specialty Retailers [R 658.7803 D598-1], Directory of Drug Store and HBC Chains, Including Drug Wholesalers [R 338.4D7 D5985-1], Directory of Foodservice Distributors [R 658.9414 D5985-3], Directory of Supermarket, Grocery and Convenience Store Chains [R 658.9414 D5985-2] and Directory of Wholesale Grocers [R 658.9414 D5985-2].
  • Directory of Venture Capital & Private Equity Firms, Domestic & International. Annual.  [R 658.1403 D5985]
  • Franchise Handbook [R 332.74203 F816-1]
  • Harris California Manufacturers Register [R 338.4794 C153]
  • Harris Directory of California Wholesalers and Service Companies [R 658.03 C1525]
  • Southern California Business Directory and Buyers Guide [R 658.03 L879]
  • Trade Shows Worldwide [R 658.703 T7635]
  • Industry specific directories.  Directories include Advertising Red Books [R 659.03 S7854-2], Directory of Mail Order Catalogs [R 658.8303 D598-1], Food & Beverage Marketplace [R 658.9414 T4635-2], Mass Merchandisers & Off-Price Apparel Buyers [R 338.4C6 N2775], Wines & Vines. Buyer's Guide Issue [R 338.1L6 W768], & Women's & Children's Wear Buyers [R 338.4C6 W8719-4].



  • Daily Commerce (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Entrepreneur
  • Fast Company
  • Home Business Magazine
  • Inc.
  • Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Minority Business Entrepreneur/MBE
  • Small Business Opportunities
  • Trade magazines such as Apparel, Candy Industry, FN (Footwear News), Gifts & Decorative Accessories, HFN (Home Furnishing News), Pizza Today and Vending Times



Web Resource

  • CalGold provides links and contact information to agencies that administer and issue business permits, licenses and registration requirements from all levels of government
  • Official city portal site for business in Los Angeles.

LAPL Databases

  • Business Insights: Essentials (Gale) -W - Brings together in a single database company profiles, company brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, and periodicals.
  • Demographics Now (Gale) -W - Retrieve demographic reports and search database for individual or company.  Create market research list from over 206 million people and over 23 million businesses.  Develop demographic reports on a single or multiple geographies with data on income, housing, race, age, education, consumer expenditures, businesses and more.  Access Experian’s Mosaic, a household-based segmentation system that classifies all U.S. households in 71 Unique Mosaic types and 12 groupings that share similar demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library (Reference eBooks) -W - A collection of reference e-books on a wide variety of topics, including popular Gale titles Business Plans Handbook, Best Customers and Encyclopedia of American Law.  A large selection of career and travel guides is also available.
  • Mergent Intellect (D&B®) -W - Access private and public U.S and international business data, industry news, facts and figures and executive contact information.  Access over 900 industry segments via First Research with overview, business trends, forecasts and financial information.
  • Proquest Central -W - Covering more than 160 subject areas, including business with databases ABI Inform Complete, Hoover’s Company Profiles, Proquest Newsstand, and Research Library.
  • ReferenceUSA Business Database (InfoUSA) -W - Over 12 million businesses compiled from nation-wide yellow pages and business sources, searchable by name, industry, geographic location, SIC and size.  Consumer/Lifestyle & New U.S. Businesses databases available for a limited time.
  • Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) -W - Provides essential data on more than 125,000 media brands including digital, consumer magazines, business publications, direct marketing, newspapers, radio, TV/cable and more.  Entries include publication profile, contact information, advertising rates, mechanical requirements, copy regulations and circulation.

Databases marked -W- may be accessed from your home computer via the web with a LAPL Library Card.  Databases marked -B- may be accessed from any LAPL Branch and Central Library.  Databases marked -C- may be accessed from Central Library only.



SCORE - Free, Confidential Small Business Counseling @ LAPL Central

1st and 2nd Thursdays of the month, Central Library, LL1.  Call the Business & Economics Department 213 228-7110 to make an appointment


PACE Business Development Center Programs:

  • Access to Capital – SBA Loans:  Learn how to prepare and apply for a SBA loan.  Program covers the purpose and usage of loans, the application process and the loan criteria (what the lender looks for in the application). 
  • Business Plans 101:  Learn how to identify areas for improvement in your current business model, set realistic goals for your business over the next 1-5 years and create a comprehensive business plan that outlines strategies to be implemented and followed in order to meet set objectives. 
  • Business Start-up:  Overview of how to start a business in Los Angeles, including steps involved in obtaining a license and permit, writing a business plan, marketing and preparing a financial statement. 
  • Marketing 101:  Learn how to refine your “brand” and message, then explore tactical solutions to reach your customers through effective advertising, public relations, grassroots programs, events, sales promotions and cause-related marketing campaigns
  • Understanding Credit + Asset Building:  Overview of credit, the impact of your credit score and the role of the credit reporting agency.  Learn how to INCREASE your credit score, take steps to protect yourself from identity theft and understand your rights as a consumer. 

Visit the Library’s website for the latest schedule of PACE workshops: