Grand Avenue Merchant News – March 2023

by Ken Katz

The Grand Opening of ReLove on February 18 was simply GRAND! I arrived a couple of hours after the doors opened and managed to get inside but just barely. A line of customers waiting to pay for their purchases extended up the stairway and beyond. Three hundred people (mostly their San Francisco shop devotees) had signed up online with 150 more on a wait list. Freya Prowe from Brother & Sisters Flower Shop happened to be in the front of that line and the flower arrangement in the foreground was most likely her way of saying “Welcome to Grand Avenue.” Other locals in attendance included Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas and her husband as well as Nikki’s Community Liaison, Debra Israel who documented the event with photographs.

I returned a week later to take more photos including one of shop owner, Delila Hailechristos who said this about their opening day: “We really appreciated the warm welcome by this community where we’ve planted roots and plan to grow while inspiring other like-minded businesses around us.” As one indication of their commitment to supporting their neighbors, Delila revealed that Meaza Haile from 8amStyle around the corner would be doing all their alterations and had already made the curtains for their dressing rooms.

As another indication, that working cooperatively is mutually beneficial, Alkali Rye was also packed on opening night thanks to their offer to provide seating and drinks for the crowd that had turned out just as expected.  It was an extra treat to see the upstairs gallery space in use again after a two-year pandemic driven hiatus and although business was booming, owner Jessica Moncada-Konte and Kori Saika Chen found time to pose for photos.

Speaking of Alkali Rye, they have four free tastings scheduled in the month of March. Sign up for their email list if you want to be notified as new events are scheduled.

To add to the festivities on the 18th, Radbird across the street was celebrating their First Anniversary with champagne and a DJ — not to mention a lot of happy customers.

Two Two at 3221 Grand (next door to Radbird) has four workshops scheduled over eight days in March. You can make reservations on their website and/or sign up for their email list to get early notification of upcoming events.

  • Alyce on Grand’s  Semiannual 50% Off Fall & Winter Sale is scheduled for March 10 – March 13 from 11 – 6pm.
  • Walden Pond will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary later this year. A banner is up but a date has not yet been determined.
  • The art show at the Libertine is still up and one of the artists Ronnie Fike doubles as the guy who checks ID’s at the door.
  • Ikaros has two specials currently on their menu: grilled branzino and Ikaros mussels.

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.