Santa Anna

If you worry about too much competition, stay away from Fourth Street in Santa Ana, Cal. Eight jewelry stores operate in a four-block stretch in the heart of downtown Santa Ana, a city of 300,000 about 40 miles south of Los Angeles. All eight report they are healthy and doing good business. Five are independents, three are units of chains. All eight pursue basically the same market, and all eight carry essentially the same type of inventory. They stay in business because they serve a loyal clientele. “The Hispanic customer, as a rule, is very loyal,” says Joe Elias of DiMitia Jewelers. Seventy-four percent of Santa Ana residents are Hispanic. Most of them of Mexican descent. Fourth Street is designed as a pleasant shopping area. It’s lined with trees, signs lie flat against the buildings and vendors sell tacos, burritos, churros and melons on street corners. The crime rate is

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