Meet the Shop Owners who Keep Oakland Alive

When we launched our pilot Keep Oakland Alive, we wanted to help locals get to know the neighborhood retailers that make The Town vibrant and shop their goods in a unified storefront that made supporting your local shops as easy as well, shopping on Amazon.

What we started in The Town has since become a movement, with 40+ local shop owners leading the charge. The community has astounded us with their support and Oaklanders have shown up in a major way for small businesses — spending $100,000 on their local shops.

We’d like to introduce you to a few of the awesome retail folks we’ve teamed up with, and let them tell you in their own words about their experience with us here at Keep Oakland Alive:

John and Erica of Oaktown Spice Shop

These two are the husband and wife owners of a ridiculously popular spice shop that famed chefs and home-cooks alike patronize on the regular. John and Erica procure nostalgic and aromatic spices from around the world (think Telicherry, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka) and grind them in-shop for peak freshness. Cooking advice is given freely here and locals know to seek out their signature blends like the Umami Sea Salt and the Grand Lake Shake. Get to know John and Erica and check out their bestsellers.

“Keep Oakland Alive has been wonderful to work with. They help make delivery more convenient for our local customers at a time when we’ve lost our usual foot traffic. Other companies have offered similar service but at a much greater cost to us as a business. Keep Oakland Alive is a real community partner.” — Erica

Angela of Oaklandish

There’s a reason why the shop Oaklandish has become almost synonymous with Oakland — they spread the local love every chance they get. Angela started Oaklandish as a public art project and evolved it into what it is now — the go-to shop when you want to rock your roots and show your city pride. Their tees are the product of many artist and brand collabs that reflect their deep connections in The Town, and giving back is the core of their mission. Get to know Angela and check out her bestsellers.

Howard of Flax Art & Design

More than a partner of ours, Howard is actually our landlord too! (We rent out the black box theatre in his complex.) Howard’s grandfather opened the legendary Flax Art & Design in 1938. Two generations later, Howard runs the family business, carrying the same huge selection of product and employing as many local artists and musicians as possible. Flax Art was a big part of the SF art scene for 80 years, and moved to Oakland a few years ago, debuting a Heather Day mural at its headquarters.⁣ Get to know Howard and check out his bestsellers.

Iguehi of Love Iguehi

We have so much love for Iguehi James! A Nigerian-American born and raised here in West Oakland, her bold African Ankara designs make The Town just a bit more electric. From headwraps to kaftans and dresses to clutches, her one-of-a-kind pieces both make a statement and accentuate the body, and incorporate vibrant and colorful fabrics. Get to know Iguehi and check out her bestsellers.

I have had the honor and pleasure of being one of the first businesses on the Keep Oakland Alive platform. From inception, the KOA team has been exceptional! Delivery service is not something that I was able to offer in the past as a small business owner, so having the KOA quick delivery service is not only great for the customer, but it has benefited me as well. I’ve really enjoyed working with KOA and I look forward to continuing our relationship!” — Iguehi

Nathan of Nathan + Co.

Nathan + Co. is one of Oakland’s most beloved gift shops, and it’s all due to Nathan’s background in product development for major retailers — he has an eye for picking out the kind of whimsical wares that will give you legendary gift giver status. Packed from the floor to the rafters with eclectic and kitschy goodies, this is the spot to find those seemingly one-of-a-kind gifts that no-one already owns. Get to know Nathan and check out his bestsellers.

“I’m super happy to spread my affinity of Keep Oakland Alive. Our partnership has turned more into a friendship than just a business relationship. KOA has brought together a great group of stores and brands. It feels like a family that KOA has curated. And to top it off… they can deliver some online sales that are impressive during unprecedented times. We’re proud to be part of it all!” — Nathan



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The best independent shops in your town, all together at