Oakland Recognizes Local Small Business Owners

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District 4 Councilmember Sheng Thao (right) and proprietors of Delightful Foods, a family-owned bakery in the Fairfax business district in Oakland. Photo by Ken Epstein.

The City Council this week honored small businesses in the city, recognizing “the key role that they play in driving Oakland’s economy and contributing to the city’s quality of life.”

At Tuesday evening’s council meeting, each council member celebrated one small business owner whose hard work and entrepreneurship is making a difference in the city.

District 4 Councilmember Sheng Thao recognized Delightful Foods, a family-owned bakery established 25 years ago in the Fairfax business district, located at 5276 Foothill Blvd. in Oakland. Bilal Sabir, Rafia Yusif and their family of 10 own and operate the bakery, which began as a pie shop and has developed into a business that specializes in eight varieties of vegan cookies and 13 flavored pies.

Councilmember-at-Large Rebecca Kaplan honored Paul Cobb, chairperson and publisher of the Post News Group, who started as a Post reporter and religion editor and bought the newspapers in 2004. The Oakland Post and El Mundo, established by the late Thomas L. Berkley,  were adjudicated in Alameda County in 1963 and have served Oakland continuously ever since.

Councilmember-at-large Rebecca Kaplan (right) honors Paul Cobb, chairperson and co-publisher of the Post News Group, which includes the Oakland Post and El Mundo newspapers. Photo by Ken Epstein

“The Post News Group is a vital part of Oakland’s community, and we recognize Paul (Cobb) for his commitment to good journalism,” said Councilmember Kaplan.

District 2 Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas recognized Arizmendi Bakery on Lakeshore Avenue, part of a worker-owned cooperative that operates six bakeries in the Bay Area. Arizmendi, which opened at 3265 Lakeshore Ave. in 1997, focuses on  providing healthy food using straightforward recipes and quality ingredients and recruits its worker-owners from underserved Oakland communities.

District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid recognized Dr. Nyeisha Dewitt, a founder of the nonprofit Oakland Natives Give Back (ONGB), which contributes backpacks and school supplies for Oakland students and works to improve student attendance.

District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, who was excused from the meeting, honored Uncle Willie’s BBQ and Fish at 614 14th St. in downtown Oakland. The restaurant,  opened in 2005 and serving award-winning BBQ and fish ever since, was named after Willie Thomas. The family-owned restaurant is run by Craig (Willie’s son) and Nick (Willie’s nephew).

District 5 Councilmember Noel Gallo recognized Taqueria La Casita, located at 3659 Foothill Blvd. in Oakland’s Fruitvale District. The restaurant opened for business in 2016.

District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor honored Lena’s Soul Food Café, named after Lena Mae Peters, who grew up in Wharton, Texas.  The café, located at 6403 Foothill Blvd. in Oakland, was the creation of her five children and two grandchildren in honor of her cooking legacy, which has been a landmark in District 6 for decades.

District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb honored Ruby’s Garden, “local-grown kids wear and gifts,” located at 5026 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.  Opening in 2006, the store serves as a community space in the Temescal to buy and sell high-quality, locally-crafted and locally-designed children’s clothing and gifts.

The Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf recognized Clean360, a social enterprise of Roots Community Health Center that creates small batch, handcrafted soap from fine ingredients in its workshop and retail location in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood at 4107 Broadway in Oakland.

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