Grand Avenue Merchant News – July 2022

by Ken Katz

In the face of a pandemic that’s dragged on for more than two years, it would have been reasonable to expect us seeing boarded-up shops throughout the Grand Lake District. To the contrary, over the past couple of months, we’ve reported on at least half a dozen newly opened businesses on Grand. The latest addition is Red Bay Coffee Roasters, which celebrated the Grand Opening of their seventh and newest location on June 19 — right next door to the Grand Lake Theatre. Hours are 8:00-3:30pm seven days a week. In addition to coffee, they feature Firebrand pastries which are roasted over a wood fire.

According to their website, Red Bay was “founded in 2014 by Keba Konte, a renowned artist and successful food entrepreneur with deep roots in the San Francisco Bay Area specialty coffee and hospitality industry.” In addition to providing coffee that’s of the highest quality and sustainable, they are equally committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity by serving and hiring people of color, the formerly incarcerated, women, and disabled individuals. Red Bay’s coffee truck will remain a presence at the Saturday Farmers Market.

Not surprisingly, much the same values prevail a few doors up the block at Alkali Rye, which is owned (together with Kori Saika Chen) by Keba Konte’s daughter, Jessica Moncada Konte. Jessica is pleased to report that the Hot Waxxx: Big Gay Car Wash on the 25th raised over $800 for Planned Parenthood. They still have totes and shirts available, with all proceeds going to an organization that’s now more relevant than ever. On the 2nd, they’ll be pouring free tastings of the Chareau Aloe Liqueur from noon to 3:00pm. Watch their Event Calendar for updates.

Although they’re months away from completing interior remodeling, CC and Jio have recently signed a lease for the vacant space at 3221 Grand, next door to Radbird (which itself just opened a few months ago). Their business (Stars Dollars Hearts) already has an online presence with a website that  features a diverse selection of unique apparel and other handcrafted objects. SDH will be a marvelous addition to Grand Avenue but will also help make the entire district a more vibrant shopping destination.

Alyce on Grand has scheduled a Shoe & Jeans Sale from July 8–10 during which select shoes and jeans will be 50% off. While you’re there, be sure to also check out their expanded selection of MyMajiArt woodblock prints by Chantal Hildebrand.

BEFORE

Hats off to Anthony Bennett, the President of the Grand Avenue Business Association. He just finished scrubbing the long-neglected GABA Directory at the entrance to the Walker Avenue parking lot and is in the process of putting together an updated list of Grand Avenue merchants. In addition, he’s been pulling weeds from the tree wells on the east side of the block beginning near the theatre which is making a noticeable difference. If funding becomes available, you’ll be seeing promotional banners on the lamp posts. Long-term, his wish list includes a larger, more active GABA membership and lots of upgrades, including security cameras in the parking lot and more landscaping. Stay tuned for more updates.

AFTER

Grand Avenue News in Brief:

  • Michael’s Chocolates will be celebrating “International Chocolate Day on July 7 with chocolates that are literally works of art.
  • If you’re a Harley fan, check out the customized bike that is stored temporarily in Wes Garcia’s MegaDeluxe Cap shop.
  • Reggae Party at Ordinaire on Sunday, July 3.

Ken Katz founded the Splash Pad Neighborhood Forum in late 1999 and, in his role as Chair, coordinated the community efforts to lobby for a new park and subsequently served as a liaison to the City of Oakland and to Walter Hood’s office during the planning process. The first Splash Pad Newsletters were emailed beginning circa 2006. Currently, he acts as a contributor to—and publisher of—the monthly Splash Pad News. Keila Diehl proofreads all the copy, filters content as needed, and makes everyone involved look good.