Grand Avenue Business Report – September 2020

by Ken Katz

A couple of weeks ago, we picked up a delicious brioche loaf and some scrumptious pastries from Wild Rabbit Bakery. During the Covid crisis, they’re only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am-3 pm and orders have to be placed no later than 3 pm the day before. The order process and online payment were first rate and, if you call when you arrive, your purchase will be brought to the door or out to your car.

Walden Pond Books just announced that they have a new online gift shop where you can order online and pick up curbside.

Alkali Rye, which opened in late July was the subject of a major article in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 10. The main focus was on the extent to which they aren’t a typical “liquor store” and instead offer a wide variety of beverages including wine, spirits, tea, and coffee. In addition, much of their inventory is produced by Black, Indigenous, People of Color, women, and queer producers!
In an email yesterday, co-owner Jessica Moncada Konte reminded us that they are partnering with a couple of fantastic local chefs on select days of the week. On Saturdays and Sundays, they are serving yummy Snack Packs from a local bar and restaurant, Friends and Family. Snack packs include a jar of house-made chicken liver paté, sliced prosciutto, Point Reyes Toma cows’ milk cheese, house-made pickles, melons, cherries, and crostini.

Every Thursday from 5:30 pm -6:30 pm, they are the East Bay pick-up location for delicious Japanese bento box dinners from Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett and the talented team at Izakaya Rintaro. Call the Bento Hotline at 415-517-8539 by 3 pm on Thursdays for pick up at Alkali Rye between 5:30-7:00. In her email, Jessica also advised that they are currently working on additional partnerships and are now pairing cocktails with the Thursday bento boxes. Their current favorite: the Umeshu Highball made with Mosswood American Whiskey aged in Umeshu casks.

An email on Friday to Grand Avenue business owners generated the following replies:

Elsa Cardona, the Social Enterprise Manager at Urban Furniture and Boutique indicated that they are extending their 50% discount on everything (with the exception of furniture and vendor items) when you bring in a receipt from a local small business. They also expect to be fully open this month. Stay tuned for more details.

As reported previously, is closed, but they still have half-priced merchandise available online. Dave added that the property owner, EG Yang, is looking for a new tenant. Either call 510.517.5790 or look for him inside General Computer Systems next door.

Kim McAfee at All Things Hemp reports that, like a lot of businesses, they are continuing to struggle. Currently, they are open limited hours from 11-5 pm on Wednesdays through Fridays. They also accept online orders, which she says were going strong but flattened out completely when the federal Covid relief funds ran out. To complicate matters, they’ve received no loans or grants, since their business is technically cannabis related, even though the products are not psychotropic.

Elida Scola, the long-time owner of Galleria Scola said she’s been doing what she can to support local businesses, most recently by way of a watch band purchased from Grand Jewelers (which unfortunately had a break-in last week), as well as the purchase of what she described as a “beautiful flower arrangement” from Freya at Brother and Sisters Flower Shop. Elida concluded by noting that “business is fine and we’re open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 am-6 pm.”