New Businesses in Downtown Alameda (Aug 2017)

Downtown Alameda Celebrates New and Old

Helen Dean at Toy Safari AlamedaFirst of all, congratulations to Helen Dean and Toy Safari for celebrating the toy store’s 25th anniversary this month. Toy Safari is a longtime retailer in Downtown Alameda and has grown to offer a HUGE array of new, used, vintage, and collectible toys. Some even say Toy Safari is home to the greatest toys on Earth. Be sure to stop and take a look inside the next time you’re taking a stroll along Park Street.

This month also marks a change for a longtime business as it steps back to let a new business shine in the storefront. When you walk by the street corner at 1229 Park Street, you’ll notice that the window is no longer full of old televisions waiting to be repaired. Elite Electronics has moved to the rear of the shop and allowed the front to be transformed into a premier nail salon. Nailbar officially opened its doors on August 5. Swing by and take a look at the swanky new interior!

Another new happening on the street… more banners have been installed on street poles throughout the district, including Lincoln Ave and Santa Clara Ave.

Nailbar AlamedaNew Businesses:

Nailbar, 1229 Park Street
* Nail care and waxing.

Phone Repair Hut, 1419 Park Street (inside Park Street Plaza)
* Phone repair services for iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones.

Wild Ginger AlamedaWild Ginger, 1239 Park Street
* Spicy street food from the western regions of China.

New Location:

Alameda Personal Training, 1416 Park Street

To find out what businesses will be opening later this year, visit the Downtown Alameda website at  www.DowntownAlameda.com/New-Business  Read the rest of this entry »

New Businesses in Downtown Alameda (May 2017)

Bay Language Academy Alameda

Bay Language Academy

Downtown Alameda Welcomes a Diverse Mix of Businesses

Alameda is blessed with a diverse community. This is reflected in just about anywhere one travels on the island. It is also reflected in the mix of businesses that co-exist in Downtown Alameda.

The downtown businesses have long catered to different cultures, different age groups, and people who have different interests. Whether it’s dining, learning, playing, relaxing, or working, Downtown Alameda always has something new that brings people together.

Recently added to the diverse mix of businesses are a new Hawaiian restaurant, a school that teaches foreign languages and culture to all ages, and a shop that provides a friendly place for kids and adults to play board games (welcome back, D20 Games!).

The next time you’re in Downtown Alameda, take time to reflect on the diverse collection of businesses. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find… and where you find them.

AHI Hawaiian Poke BarNew Businesses:

AHI Hawaiian Poke Bar, 2353 Santa Clara Ave
* Serving fresh fish with a combination of homemade sauces and veggie toppings.

Bay Cater, 2312 Alameda Ave
* Catering service located inside the Alameda Masonic Center.

Bay Language Academy, 1412-1416 Park Ave
* Offering innovative and fun language classes and cultural instruction for kids and adults.

D20 Games Alameda

D20 Games, 1530 Park Street
* Friendly joint to buy and play games; dedicated to face-to-face play, good fun, and fair play.

Mercy and Grace Staffing Solutions, 1516 Oak Street #108
* Recruiting for job opportunities in the nursing field.

The Red Door on Encinal, 2309 Encinal Ave
* Grassroots gallery in a very unconventional location.

New Owner:

Habanas Cuban Cuisine, 1518 Park Street

In the Works:  Read the rest of this entry »

Catch the “Luck of the Irish” in Downtown Alameda

St Patrick’s Day is this Friday! Enjoy a day of green shenanigans in Downtown Alameda on one of the most festive days of the year. Put on your greenest attire, gather your friends, and prepare to embark on a cultural journey.In addition to the abundant plates of delicious corned beef and cabbage, you’ll find culinary treats such as corned beef sliders and Reuben sandwiches, green beer and Guinness, all day drink specials, and even Irish Coffee flavored ice cream.

Some of our favorite stops:

Club House – Corned beef & cabbage; Guinness and Jameson drink specials

Linguini’s Pizza & Brew $3 green beer, $4 Guinness, corned beef & cabbage, Reuben sandwiches, and PRIZES

Lost Weekend Lounge St. Patrick’s Day PARTY starts at 9:00pm

Lucky 13 – Luck of the day drink specials all day

McGee’s Bar & Grill – Food and drink specials for St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness

Ole’s Waffle Shop Corned beef & cabbage dinner — served with a beer (for those 21+, of course)

Speisekammer – Corned beef & cabbage, Irish whiskey, beer, and Irish Fiddle music

The Churchward Pub – Guinness promos and specials

The Lemon Tree – Serving corned beef & cabbage at lunch and for dinner

Wine & WafflesCorned beef sliders

Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream– Irish Coffee flavored ice cream

To learn more about the St. Patrick’s Day happenings in Downtown Alameda, go to www.DowntownAlameda.com.

Irish Traditions That Began in America

corned beef and cabbageThe tradition of wearing of green on St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, along with the tradition of drinking Guiness and eating corned beef and cabbage. But you might be surprised to learn that most St. Patrick’s Day traditions have their roots in America — not Ireland. *

St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious occasion in Ireland— for over 1,000 years the faithful spent the day in quiet prayer at church or at home in observance of the saint’s death. (In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17.)

The first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. The parade was organized in New York City on March 17, 1762 and helped the immigrants reconnect with their Irish roots. Read the rest of this entry »

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Love, Community, and 2nd Fridays in Downtown Alameda

Wine & Waffles Chocolate Pairing

Wine and Chocolate Pairing at Wine & Waffles

As the popular song goes… “All you need is love.” Love for ourselves, our community, our earth, our country, and our world.  

One of the challenges we all face is that the fate of our communities lies in our collective abilities to support each other and communicate in meaningful ways. With everything that’s going on in our world, people have a deep need to feel connected.

In times of great divide the best strides will come in “breaking bread” with family and friends or sharing a “cuppa” with our neighbors.

Valentine’s Day is not just about romance these days. It’s about showing you care for the people around you. This amazing community — the people who live here, who work here, and those who visit us — these folks can be our focus for this month of LOVE.

Come create a culture of positive appreciation with us. Let’s help each other find new ways to connect.

“Love is about doing what you can, where you are, with what you have.”

Donna Layburn, President
Downtown Alameda Business Association

Downtown Tip: Downtown Alameda restaurants are putting together special menus and events for Valentine’s Day — you’ll want to book a reservation at your favorite place before they are full.

2nd Fridays in Downtown Alameda  Read the rest of this entry »

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Decorating for the Lunar New Year in Downtown Alameda

Lunar New Year at Monkey King Pub in Alameda

Lunar New Year at Monkey King Pub & Grub

As the Lunar New Year approaches, some of our downtown merchants can be seen decorating their businesses with lanterns, couplets, paper cuttings, and other items. Dazzling and glittering Chinese New Year decorations never fail to capture the magic and energy of this fabulous season.

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is the most important traditional holiday in Chinese communities. It takes place on a different date each year because it is based on the lunar calendar, marking the ‘Start of Spring’. This year’s lunar new year begins on Saturday, January 28, 2017. It is said to be a powerful one, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward. 

Be sure to look for colorful decorations when visiting some of the Asian-inspired restaurants, martial arts studios, and other businesses in Alameda’s downtown district.

It’s interesting to know that the decorations you may see also carry symbolic meaning:

Chinese Lunar New Year decorationsChinese Red Lanterns — Hanging a red lantern in front of the door is believed to drive off bad luck. During Chinese New Year it is not uncommon to see lanterns hung on business offices.

Door Couplets — New Year couplets contain brush works of Chinese calligraphy posted on each side of a door frame. The message on the couplets is filled with best wishes for the coming year. The couplets are thought to keep evil away.

Paper Cuttings — It is customary to display paper cutouts on windows during the Chinese New Year for luck and happiness. The theme of the New Year’s paper cutting typically contains the image of an auspicious plant or animal. The rooster is expected to be a popular image this year.

Upside-Down Fu Characters — The pasting of big diamonds of paper calligraphy with the “fu” Chinese character is deliberately inverted on or over doors. It means a business wishes for “good fortune” to “pour out” on them. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Businesses in Downtown Alameda (January 2017)

There’s always something new to discover in Downtown Alameda. If you look closely while strolling through the downtown district, you’ll find an ever-changing business landscape. During the past year we delightedly announced the opening of 28 new businesses in the district. These included everything from personal services to local eateries. The variety of businesses is also reflected in those that recently opened, just in time to kick off the new year.

Help welcome the newest businesses to our downtown district! Stop by and check them out…

Black Bull Tacos Y Cerveza Alameda

Black Bull Tacos Y Cerveza

New Businesses:

Black Bull Tacos Y Cerveza, 1635 Park Street
* A creative and flavorful twist on Mexican favorites.

Hewitt, Jones, & Fitch, 2421 Encinal Ave #C
* Certified public accountants serving closely held businesses.

New Owner:

Park Family Dental, 1621 Park Street (formerly Albert S. Lin, DDS)

In the Works:  Read the rest of this entry »

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Downtown Alameda Businesses Receive Outstanding Service Awards (2016 DABA Awards)

Edward Jones Investments Alameda Office Jane Watson

Edward Jones (Office of Jane Watson)

At the end of each year, the Downtown Alameda Business Association presents special awards to member businesses in recognition of their outstanding service. The awards are given in four categories: Retail Business of the Year, Professional Business of the Year, Culinary Business of the Year, and New Business of the Year.

The selected businesses are recognized for their contributions to the success of our downtown district — owners and staff actively participate in downtown activities and they find ways to give back to the community in a number of ways. These businesses are excellent examples of the quality of service you can expect to find in Downtown Alameda year-round.

Congratulations to the recipients of our 2016 Downtown Alameda Business Awards!

Retail Business of the Year

Alameda See Spot Run pet supplies and cat adoption

Alameda See Spot Run

Alameda See Spot Run, 2510 Santa Clara Ave
Alameda See Spot Run is a local, family-owned store committed to providing products, services, and educational programs that help customers care for their pets without breaking the bank. When you shop with them, you receive personal service by staff who have a sincere desire to share their time and knowledge. Owner (and Alameda resident) Cynthia Schorle is also committed to serving the community at large. She serves on two of our committees — the Membership Committee and the Maintenance & Improvement Committee.

Professional Business of the Year (tie)

The Sewing Room Alameda sewing workshops and instructor classes

The Sewing Room

The Sewing Room, 2434 Webb Ave
The Sewing Room is not only a retail store, but it’s also a sewing workshop. Jennifer Serr and her instructors have a passion for the needle arts and enjoy sharing their expertise with students of all skill levels. Jennifer is known to have a remarkably relaxed and respectful way with kids that allows them to take risks and gain confidence. Jennifer also inspires community members to participate in sewing projects that benefit various charities. Jennifer first joined our Membership Committee in October 2016. Shortly after, she was appointed to our 2017 Board of Directors.

Edward Jones (Jane Watson), 1430 Everett Street, Suite A
There’s an advantage in working with an advisor who knows you and provides top-notch service. Edward Jones advisor Jane Watson exemplifies this by taking the time to help her clients identify personal financial goals, develop strategies to achieve those goals, and then monitor the progress for potential adjustments. Jane is also dedicated to supporting the greater Alameda community. She regularly hosts free retirement planning events and has served on our Membership Committee since 2013.

Culinary Business of the Year

Speisekammer German Restaurant Oktoberfest in Alameda

Speisekammer

Speisekammer, 2424 Lincoln Ave
Owners Peter Kahl and Cindy Kahl know how to provide an experience that entices people to return again and again. Patrons routinely go to Speisekammer for the authentic German food, one of the best beer lists in the area, and the weekly live music. Their hugely popular Oktoberfest is a signature event in the district every year. In addition, the staff at Speisekammer graciously play host for the Downtown Association’s annual meeting/mixer. Cindy has also been involved with our Maintenance & Improvement Committee for the last two years.

New Business of the Year   Read the rest of this entry »

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Downtown Businesses Receive Honors

There’s no denying that you’ll find some of the best businesses in Downtown Alameda. Our businesses are recognized on both a local and a national level.

Congratulations to these two businesses for recently receiving award recognition from the community and their peers!

Kate Pryor and Tucker's Ice Cream receives service awardCommunity Service Award

On October 27, the City of Alameda 2016 Community Service Award – Business Person was presented to Kate Pryor and Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream. The community awards honor extraordinary people who make a difference in our community. Kate was recognized for her support of the library’s summer reading program along with the many, many other contributions she and Tucker’s have made in support of youth education and community activities. This was the first year that awards were given to businesses. “It was an extremely positive, professional, and heartfelt event,” said Kate.  

Sustainability and Peer Awards

Alameda Natural Grocery and Donna Layburn receives awardAlameda Natural Grocery was recently honored as “Retailer of the Year” in the sustainability category by New Hope Network. The award was presented in Baltimore last month. Alameda Natural Grocery was the only west coast natural grocery store to win one of four award categories. Bees on the roof, adaptive reuse, recycling, composting, California Green Business Certification, and the Alameda Green program were a few of the business practices recognized. “We are grateful to Alameda Municipal Power for their retrofitting assistance programs and the Alameda Green program,” said Donnna. “They help us all be better to our environment.”

It’s also worth noting that, back in June, business owner Donna Layburn received an Innovation Award from the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association for her creative business savvy in an ever-evolving marketplace.  Read the rest of this entry »

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