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South LA Businesses Fear Losing Money During Shuttle Transport

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INGLEWOOD (CBSLA.com) — It could be boom or bust for both spectators and businesses during the slow-speed crawl of the Space Shuttle Endeavour through the streets of Los Angeles.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the Shuttle’s move from LAX to the California Science Center will likely mean light crowds – and lights out – for small business owners and residents.

The planned route for Endeavour once it leaves its airport hangar on early Friday morning runs northeast on La Tijera Boulevard to Manchester Parkway for a stop at the Inglewood Forum.

The Shuttle will head east on Manchester to Crenshaw Boulevard, then down MLK to Bill Robertson Lane and into Exposition Park before nightfall on Saturday.

Ron Weintraub expected big crowds at the iconic Randy’s Donuts at La Cienega and Manchester as Endeavour undergoes a transport vehicle switch to cross the 405 Freeway.

But after learning that police will prevent spectators from gathering on the sidewalks in certain locations, he now fears that he could lose money.

“They have specific viewing areas that they want you to go to if you want to see it,” said Weintraub, who made arrangements to rent out his lot at an undisclosed price to Toyota personnel while the automaker shoots a commercial for its Tundra truck during the tow.

Bill Wharrie, who runs Inglewood Flower Garden on Manchester, said the store will alter its operation to adjust for any crowds that may take to the streets and possibly prevent him for being able to use his van for deliveries.

“So we’re gonna be closing our gates, leaving it halfway open,” said Wharrie. “People cannot come in, unless they come to side streets.”

And it may not just be small businesses that have to adjust: Southern California Edison said via Twitter that Inglewood residents may experience four-to-five-hour power outages as part of the planned rolling blackouts.

The warnings come as many South L.A. residents have voiced disappointment over being unable to get a close-up view of what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had originally touted as “the mother of all parades” over a year ago.

Villaraigosa has since changed his tune.

“First of all, it’s not a parade. It’s a route. The shuttle is traveling a route. Now, people will be along that route,” he said.

And for stores like Bruno’s Burgers at Manchester and Hillcrest, that could be all they need.

“People will be standing out here, we’ll make a lot of business,” said one worker. “Burgers are still gonna be flipped.”

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