downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — business

Early Xmas gift for cyclists

December 16, 2011

This morning bicycle, pedestrian, transit and business advocates celebrated the installation of 18.1 miles of City-wide bike infrastructure, including long-awaited lanes on Franklin and Webster Streets, connecting downtown’s neighborhoods. Full disclosure: I am a Board Member of Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, which sponsored the press conference in partnership with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. By the time you read this the lanes will have been fully painted – get out and enjoy them!

While Old Oakland’s Pop Up Hood is going strong, and inspiring entrepreneurs throughout Oakland despite the poor economy, Uptown is getting in on the holiday shopping action with a temporary gift fair this weekend at the Betti Ono Gallery (1804 Telegraph) across the street from the Fox Theater. The holiday shopping extravaganza with local artisans and manufacturers kicks off tonight with a party from 7 to 10pm, and continues all weekend from 11am-5pm in conjunction with the Uptown Stroll, when local bars, restaurants and shops (including EntreZ and Feelmore510) offer holiday discounts. And in the spirit of the season, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Covenant House, an organization that works with homeless youth.

There are other great opportunities to contribute downtown. Tonight, The Uptown Nightclub (1928 Telegraph Ave) will waive its cover charge for a donation of a new, unwrapped toy to the Mayor’s Toy Drive. If you come downtown for business, consider bringing canned food to donate to the Alameda County Food Bank, which has donation drop-offs in the lobbies of most office buildings. The Food Bank can stretch your dollars further because of bulk purchasing, so also consider making a cash donation, which you can do online at

Happy holidays!

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Back in Black

November 25, 2011

Downtown Oakland’s independent merchants have come through an extraordinarily difficult several weeks. While not everyone will fully weather the storm, and not all the damage has been done, choosing to do a little more shopping downtown can go a long way toward maintaining the DTO’s positive momentum. Pro tip: wear some plaid for surprise discounts!

In addition to scattered discounts for plaid-wearing local shoppers, several stores are offering discounts and promotions today. Farley’s East (31 Grand Ave) will give a 10% discount to everyone who shopped at a local independent retailer – show your receipt to get your discount. Oaklandish customers spending over $75 will get a free classic T-shirt (1440 Broadway), and a discount from Fivetenburger’s truck parked outside. Last but not least, EntreZ Open House, a store selling gifts and home furnishings in Uptown, will have a raffle for today’s customers. The store is definitely a must-see this holiday season, as it has been a retailing pioneer but is nearing the end of its lease.

Old Oakland’s Pop Up Hood, an ambitious attempt to seed a thriving retail district in what is arguably downtown’s most suitable shopping corridor, officially begins on December 5 but several shops are already open for business. Check out Manifesto Bicycles (831 Broadway), Marion and Rose’s Workshop (416 9th St) and Sticks + Stones Gallery (815 Broadway), housed in some of the oldest buildings in the Bay Area. Nearby, the Bookmark Bookstore (721 Washington) is offering discounts today.

Blackout Oakland, an anti-corporate local shopping celebration, combines an artisans’ fair and local shopping promotion with a heavy dose of radical rhetoric. Nonetheless it should be a fun and crime-free event at Frank Ogawa Plaza this afternoon.

In a similar vein, the Catholic Church is sponsoring a fair trade holiday market with free hot cider at the Cathedral Plaza (2121 Harrison at Grand). Ad while you’re downtown, don’t forget about the charming shops of 17th Street, and Chinatown’s unique gift selections centered on 10th and Webster.

Last Looks

Two art exhibitions worthy of a look are up for one last week in Uptown. Machine Language, mixed-media collages depicting Oakland scenery as urban robotics, is at Era (21 Grand) for one more week. A selection of Day of the Dead-inspired ofrendas at SMSHBX / Betti Ono (1804 Telegraph) will hang only for this weekend.

Shopping Indie in the City

For Oakland to get back some of its tax revenues lost to Occupy-related business loss and security expenses, shopping across the city needs to get a healthy bump for the City to see a significant rise in tax revenues. Fortunately, local indie merchant collaborative Oakland Grown is offering an easy gift solution – a gift card redeemable at numerous local businesses. Check out for a list of participating stores.

And the started-in-Oakland tradition of Plaid Friday is encouraging merchants throughout the city to offer discounts and promotions today and through the weekend. See a full list of Plaid Friday deals at

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