Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Cheryl McMahan


Small business owners can suffer fluctuations in profitability during the entrance of big box stores within their neighborhood that grab market share with more recognizable brands and change the retail environment. A multiple case study was completed to explore the strategies small business owners use to stay profitable during retail gentrification, looking specifically at the neighborhoods of Adams Morgan and Congress Heights in Washington, DC. Porter's five forces and the resource-based view served as the conceptual framework for the study. Seven small business owners with over 80 years of experience in their locations provided input through semistructured interviews and identified effects of gentrification on their neighborhoods and strategies they used to combat retail gentrification. The thematic approach to data analysis was used to organically code the data based upon reoccurring themes. As a result, 5 strategies were identified within the data: pricing, advertising, customer acquisition, shopkeeper mentality, and neighborhood engagement. The results of this study might provide small business owners with a toolkit of strategies to assist in staying profitable during a time of change. The implications for social change include the potential for maintaining small business profitability during gentrification, encouraging entrepreneurship, employing local residents, and retaining the authentic culture of the neighborhood.

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