So, I was driving down Seventh Street in WO the other day, past the future home of the Mandela Foods Cooperative, and the window sign was down and I admit I thought the worst. But after poking my head inside I was happy to see that the interior is almost completely finished! The sinks and stove, bathrooms, display cases, etc… are all in and the painters were busy with finishing touches.
Painters put finishing touches inside Mandela Foods Cooperative
Mandela Foods Cooperative is looking closer to reality.
Looks like the only thing missing is the food and the people, key ingredients to be sure. The Mandela Marketplace website says the store will celebrate its grand opening June 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1430 Seventh St.
West Oakland has been without a full service grocery store since Eugene’s in the Jack London Gateway shopping center closed. The 99-Cent Only store filled some of the void, and once open the new co-op will finally give West Oakland residents a venue to shop locally.
And after many, many long delays, let’s hope the opening date holds.
So, I was all ready to get all righteous and indignant Last Friday over Bank of America’s absence of banks and ATMs in West Oakland when calmer and (probably) wiser) heads prevailed.
It started when BofA sent out an anouncement about the grand opening of the Leonard J. Meltzer Boys & Girls Club in West Oakland. Vern Yip of HGTV’s “Deserving Design” show crafted the fabulous facelift and the bank paid for it.
The announcement also mentioned that BofA had spent $61 million to spruce up a whole bunch of banking centers, none, zip, zero of which are located in West Oakland. I mean the bank doesn’t even have an ATM there.
But Cal Stanley, Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland president, talked about how fantastic the place looked, “the best its been in 40 years,” was how he put it. You can see how right he is by these photos, and read the Tribune story about the grand opening here.
West Oakland Boys & Girls Club
West Oakland Boys & Girls Club
Happy kids at West Oakland Boys & Girls Club
Stanley said of course he didn’t like that BofA had bypassed the West Oakland community for direct banking services, but he pointed out that it had given the Boys and Girls Club a two-year, $200,000 operating grant that really helped the organization provide a safe haven for a lot of kids that need it. He said the financial giant had been a really good partner with the club. It also gave the club a $30,000 check at Friday’s grand opening. Read the rest of this entry »
So Wednesday morning I went to the West Oakland Library, and another reporter went to Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, and we talked to folks about the election, whether they’d ever thought an African American would be president, and what they thought Obama’s first priorities should be.
Despite the geographic, racial and in some cases, economic differences, most all thought it was a great day for the United States.
We videotaped the interviews, check out some of them here:
The rest will be posted in a couple of days, along with a couple of print interviews that got cut for space in the paper. Stay tuned…
Add your own comments about the election, and how it affected you and what you think comes next for our newest president.
So, I wandered by the Mandela Foods Cooperative storefront earlier this week, and lo and behold, the doors were open and construction workers were busy laying concrete inside.
People have been wondering when, or if, the co-op will ever open, so it’s good to see something happening there. Part of the problem was it took way too long to get permits. Co-op director Nathan Cheng told me before the August groundbreaking that they had applied in March and didn’t get approval until summer.
Obviously the planned September opening was delayed, but now at least it seems as though things are moving pretty fast. The electrical and plumbing are in, and as soon as the concrete work is done, the sheetrock crew will move in to finish the interior walls.
The co-op has its share of naysayers, but I can tell you that even when nothing visible was happening at the storefront, the worker/owners were meeting once or twice a week for months to get trained on all aspects of running a business. Let’s hope that translates to success.
It's not open yet, but things are taking shape inside the Mandela Foods Cooperative on Seventh Street.
Workers are laying concrete inside the Mandela Foods Cooperative on Seventh Street. The plumbing and electrical are installed, next comes the sheetrock.
Steve Nillson of El Sobrante is working for the Dieden Company, laying concrete in the Mandela Foods Cooperative storefront on Seventh Street.