Activists rally for local business owner, raise awareness about gentrification

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CROWN HEIGHTS -

Local business owners and activists in Crown Heights used Small Business Saturday as a day to rally against gentrification.

Tracy Reid has owned Lionheart Natural Herbs and Spices on Nostrand Avenue for 16 years, but now she says rising rents are forcing her out.

"A lot of stores have been closing down," Reid says. "There's not too much support for us as far as small businesses around here."

Protesters are standing behind Reid and seeking to raise awareness and funds for a new space for the small business owner.

Reid blames the decline of small businesses on booming real estate investment. She says Brooklyn is experiencing "intense gentrification displacement."

Customers say they are very upset about Reid's possible departure, but Reid is trying to stay positive.

"It could be a blessing in disguise," Reid says. "It's just time for me to move on to a different space where my contribution to the community will be more received."

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