Few building types are caught in as heated a debate as inner-city strip malls, a quintessential American retail typology that is the result of zoning, parking, and set-back regulations. Arguments in support of strip malls point to their affordability as investment opportunities for area entrepreneurs, as seen here through Latino-owned Panaderia El Rey, Black-owned Variety Beauty Supply, and Cheng’s Garden Chinese Restaurant. Counter-arguments refer to the need for density (and increased tax value), improved aesthetic and economic potential, through mixed-use developments that rely on transit and pedestrian systems instead of cars. A better understanding of the type of retail environment low-income consumers value would offer insights for entrepreneurs to direct their efforts and improve services, while policy-makers can determine preferred infrastructures that expand options in ‘retail desert’ areas.