Grocery Store as Social Space

Floor_Plan_6_13_16_pdfPeople in West Oakland want social and cultural experiences in their own community that provide recreation and connection to their neighbors. They want a family-friendly and culturally inclusive setting that offer a safe and welcoming atmosphere to gather and socialize. And they’re hungry for enjoyable dining experiences that don’t require a lot of travel, money or fanfare.

Through the Front Porch social hall, our community market will cater to these desires and become a social space and a junction for community interaction.

During the day the Front Porch will be used for workshops, health services, and general community use. In the evenings the Front Porch will offer various social events such as live music, poetry readings, movie showings, mixers, art exhibits and guest speakers.

The Front Porch will have a counter to the café so that customers can order food right from the social hall, even when the store has closed for the day. The café’s dinner service will compliment and enhance the events held in the Front Porch. And the cafe will utilize the Front Porch to offer family-style dinner events, supper clubs and Sunday BBQs.

We believe that offering a positive space for social, cultural and recreational activities will have a positive impact on the community, bringing people together for enriching and memorable experiences. We also believe that it will increase our success as a business by making the store a destination that people come back to regularly to enjoy themselves, have a meal and socialize with others.

This is what we mean by More Than A Grocery Store.

Grocery Store as Neighborhood Anchor

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Grocery stores can be more to neighborhoods than just convenient places to buy food. Through the traffic and activity that grocery stores often generate, they can be vital anchors to community development and the attraction of small businesses, mixed-use housing, public improvements and reinvestment in historically marginalized neighborhoods like West Oakland.

Our full-service food market and social hall will be located on the San Pablo Avenue Corridor (SPC), a 1.5-mile stretch of San Pablo Avenue in West Oakland that connects downtown Oakland to Emeryville. With over 9,000 residents, 13,000 daily vehicles and three major bus lines, the SPC is an important locus of the West Oakland community. Yet, while the SPC was once a thriving main street, it has fallen into decline and lost the majority of its neighborhood-serving businesses. There hasn’t been a full-service grocery store since the 1970’s.

Fortunately, there are numerous efforts, such as the San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative (SPARC), to re-envision and revitalize the SPC as a hub of small businesses, nonprofit services, mixed-use housing, and pedestrian and transit friendly environments that support the health and wellbeing of residents. We have been engaging with residents and community organizations around the role that our community market, as the first larger business on the SPC in a long time, can play as an anchor to community development and long-lasting transformation in West Oakland.

We’re excited to play an even bigger role and have an even bigger impact in West Oakland. A central value of our business is to build community. Now we’re moving toward literally building community. With Food and Groceries of course. But also with Bricks and Concrete. All of which are key ingredients to building community.